Issue #4(18) 2018 Lounge

Chaos and creation – cultural directions for the space industry

Looking up at a ‘halo’ - a suspended box of explosions during the Réalta performance for Dublin Science Gallery 10th anniversary celebrations, developed at ESA.
Looking up at a ‘halo’ - a suspended box of explosions during the Réalta performance for Dublin Science Gallery 10th anniversary celebrations, developed at ESA.
Aoife van Linden Tol Artist & Vice Chair, IAF Committee for the Utilisation of Space, London, UK

As humans take the next steps towards living and working more regularly on space stations, the Moon and Mars, the global space industry must recognise its place as a gatekeeper of the cosmos. This role is now well beyond that of its original purpose of the pursuit of science and is moving into areas such as governance, economics and social structure. It will need to embrace the expertise of other domains of knowledge in order to achieve this. But the reality is that the pathways are not yet in place to do this effectively. Aoife van Linden Tol asks how we can begin to accomplish this?

It is highly unusual that any one industry would have to invite everyone on the planet to become involved in its work. Yet the actions and activities of the space industry are now affecting the whole planet and its inhabitants in such a profound way that this responsibility is inescapable. Brand new cultures are about to be created.

In 45BC Cicero’s reference to philosophy as the ‘cultivation of the mind’ implied the need to purposefully develop virtuous mental attributes to allow man to follow his highest possible purpose and achieve his highest potential. I use the noun ‘man’ advisedly as at that time is was deemed to be about men.

The impact the physical and social environment had on ‘culturing’ their inhabitants was the natural evolution of this idea, which in turn led to the modern understanding of the word that describes the complex traits, behavioural patterns, expressions, beliefs and social structures of societies themselves. Culture on Earth has been shaped by the continuous development and interactions of all of humanity over thousands of years.

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