Space Resources: Promising and Problematic?

October 2018

The idea that the vast resources of the asteroids and the Moon could be exploited for human benefit—or “mining the sky” as it has been called—has long been the stuff of science fiction, but now is rapidly becoming an engineering reality. That these space resources could be the basis for a profitable industry in the near future gives a new urgency to studying the possibilities and the consequences that arise, including the expansion of humanity’s domain into space. Research that encompasses all that the use of space resources touches spans an enormous range of disciplines, from engineering and astronomy to business and law, on to ethics, anthropology, and to our self-understanding via the humanities. The seminar will examine both the promise and the problematic nature of the harnessing of space resources from all these perspectives.