White Paper: Ethical Exploration and the Role of Planetary Protection in Disrupting Colonial Practices

“All of humanity is a stakeholder in how we, the planetary science and astrobiology community, engage with other worlds. Violent colonial practices and structures-- genocide, land appropriation, resource extraction, environmental devastation,and more-- have governed exploration of Earth, and if not actively dismantled, will define the methodologies and mind set we carry forward into space exploration. With sample return missions from Mars underway, resource maps of the Moon being produced, and private industry progressing toward human exploration of Mars, the timeline is urgent to develop a modern, inclusive, robust, and enforceable policy framework to govern humanity’s engagement with other worlds. This paper does not recommend specific policies or implementation strategies,and instead focuses on “the identification of planetary protection considerations,” in accordance with the scope of this decadal survey.‚Äč” - Frank Tavares



Keywords: Astrobiology Earth Ethics Exploration Life in SPace NASA RESEARCH View All

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Space Messengers is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts

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