How Will We Govern Ourselves in Space?

A new golden age of space exploration is upon us, with growing numbers of countries and private enterprises eager to establish themselves in space for the sake of scientific inquiry, national prestige, adventurous tourism, billionaires’ bragging rights, mineral riches, and even as a hedge against any future calamity that might devastate our home planet.

Our motivations for exploration may vary, but the spaceward rush raises questions about how we will govern ourselves beyond the bonds of Earth. Cold War-era space treaties, vague notions of how legal frameworks on Earth might migrate to settlements in space, and cautionary tales from both history and science fiction offer some guidance, but we could benefit from a larger conversation about how we want to govern them.

Join Future Tense and the JustSpace Alliance to consider how we might ensure that our “next frontier” is one that reflects our most humane and democratic values. Stick around after the event to continue the conversation with a happy hour reception.

Follow the conversation online using #SettlingSpace and following @FutureTenseNow.


PANEL: What Could be Unsettling about New Settlements? Featuring Russell ShortoContributing writer, New York Times Magazine and Author of The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped AmericaBina VenkataramanDirector, Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of Harvard & MIT, Future Tense Fellow and Author of the forthcoming book, The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age; and Armstrong Wiggins, Washington, DC Director, Indian Law Resource Center. Moderated by Andrés MartinezEditorial Director, Future Tense.

PANEL: Law & Order, or Game of Thrones? The Legal Landscape of Space Exploration - Featuring Amanda NguyenCEO and founder, Rise and Board Member, JustSpace Alliance; Henry Hertzfeld, Director, Space Policy Institute and Professor of Space Policy & International Affairs, The George Washington University; Yuliya PanfilDirector, New America Future of Property Rights Program; and Erika NesvoldAstrophysicist & Developer, Universe Sandbox and Co-founder, JustSpace Alliance.

PANEL: What Do Community and the Social Landscape Look Like in Space? Featuring Craig Calhoun, Professor of Social Sciences, Arizona State University, Former director and president of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Author of Nations Matter: Culture, History and the Cosmopolitan DreamFred Scharmen, Associate Professor, Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning and Author of Space SettlementsAlex MacDonald, Program Executive for Emerging Space, NASA Office of the Chief Technologist; and Lucianne Walkowicz, Astronomer, Adler Planetarium and Co-founder, JustSpace Alliance.

July 10, 2019
Run time
New America
Presented by:
Future Tense