Navigation Links
Space scientists, humanist scholars to explore outer space from new perspective

Space agencies and scientists are tirelessly working to make manned missions back to the Moon and then onwards to Mars a reality. The technologies involved are awe-inspiring, but what challenges do historians, philosophers or sociologists expect us to face in an era of interplanetary exploration and, perhaps, colonisation"

To find out, the European Science Foundation (ESF), European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) are co-hosting a conference in Vienna, on 11-12 October 2007, at which humanist scholars and space scientists will come together, for the first time in Europe, to discuss humankinds presence in space from non-traditional perspectives. The conference Humans in Outer Space Interdisciplinary Odysseys will give guiding insight into how once we find a way to survive in outer space we will also face issues that can be best addressed in the light of modern understanding of historical events.

Issues that conference delegates will explore include the philosophical and theological consequences of contacting alien intelligences, the marketing of space exploration, and the legal frameworks that will be needed if space-faring nations are to co-operate peacefully.

The event is being organised in part by an ESF Steering Committee chaired by Professor Luca Codignola, a historian at the University of Genoa. He is particularly interested in what history can tell us about the challenges we may face if space explorers make contact with alien civilisations.

The so-called Columbian Exchange that took place around 1492 was a typical case in point. It changed the Western way of conceiving the globe; it forcefully challenged its theology; it allowed for a free flow of bacteria, germs and microbes that almost wiped out the American peoples, he explained.

Professor Codignola prepared for the upcoming Vienna conference by helping to organise a preliminary seminar, held earlier this year in Genoa. The seminar was attended by 21 leading thinkers from diverse humanist and scientific disciplines, 10 of whom presented short papers.

Gsli P lsson, for example, an anthropologist from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, presented Lucy in the Sky Out of Africa, Out of Earth, in which he looked at whether our understanding of how human cultures interact can help us imagine what it would be like to contact non-human cultures.

The seminar was also attended by a luminary in historical research, Dr Alfred Crosby, who originated the concept of the Columbian Exchange in the 1970s. He presented a paper entitled The Space-Roving Human Being and His and Her Inhabitants: Micro-Organisms and Extraterrestrial Travel.

The science community does not really seem to be aware of the fact that a number of issues and concerns that they are dealing with, such as the consequences of meeting with unknown pathogens, are known and have long been studied by historians and ethnologists, Prof Codignola offered.

As for the humanities scholars, technical difficulties relating to space voyaging and especially its time frame, usually escape them. We all felt it was rather strange that the two groups rarely, if ever, meet to discuss space-related issues, he added.

The upcoming Vienna conference will feature six successive sessions and 21 speakers. The conclusions from these sessions will be documented by the ESF in a position paper entitled Vienna Vision on Humans in Outer Space. The ESF will distribute this paper to all interested stakeholders in the academic world, space agencies, intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations, the media and politicians involved in space and research-related initiatives.

Prof Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Secretary General of the ESPI and Chair of the conference, commented: Mankinds future in outer space will require a comprehensive view including the input in particular by the humanities and social sciences, as well as the reflection of the manifold trans-utilitarian aspects that make space exploration a province of all mankind."


Contact: Dr. Jean-Claude Worms
European Science Foundation

Related medicine news :

1. Immune cells halt round in space
2. Space research leads to needle-free blood tests
3. Doctors Ask MPs To Protect Human Rights By Banning Smoking In Enclosed Public Spaces
4. Space suit technology to Protect Against Heat Strokes
5. Needed, more space for womens sexual identity on marquees
6. Spacers Score Over Nebulizers in Childhood Asthma Treatment
7. Astronauts Spacewalk On The International Space Station – NASA Report
8. Effect of Prolonged Stay in Space Studied Using Fruit Flies
9. Exercise in Space Prevents Kidney Stone Formation in Astronauts
10. Headspace to the Rescue of Mentally Ill Youngsters
11. Experiments In Outer Space To Determine single Cell Survival
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... ... Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) learned that the number ... first time since 2011. In 2014, there were 9,967 fatalities involving an alcohol impaired ... Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 32,675 people were killed in traffic crashes in 2014. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... "When ... that regular bras were incredibly uncomfortable," said an inventor from Bronx, N.Y. "In ... She developed the patent-pending RECOVERY BRA for added comfort and support. The bra ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Many people know of the common symptoms ... hands, and dry skin. But many people who find their cholesterol levels and weight ... of their thyroid, especially if they don’t have any of the other symptoms. , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Students and parents have something to be thankful for this ... Impact awards. California Casualty is proud to support the contest designed to ... reckless driving, the number one killer of young drivers. , Almost 1,000 entries ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Eric C. Seidel, DMD and Stephanie DeFilippo, ... revolutionary BIOLASE WaterLase iPlus 2.0™ system. This advanced laser technology uses light energy ... dentist in Gettysburg, PA . From routine visits to cosmetic treatments, laser dentistry ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) ... New York State Attorney General,s Office ... Act, and other statutes with the Attorney General over the ... cease marketing and selling the now generic version of memantine ... no liability, has released its counterclaims against New ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 USP 800 applies to all ... pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, home ... also covers all entities which store, prepare, transport, ... healthcare institutions, patient treatment clinics, physicians, practice facilities, ... --> What is the purpose of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... - Will Also Offer Point -of- ... --> - Will Also Offer Point ... --> - Will Also Offer ... (CME) Elsevier , a world-leading provider of ... diagnostic imaging textbooks and decision support tools, as well as prominent ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: