The Ecological Colonization of Space

May 23, 2011 at 11:53 am 4 comments

The Ecological Colonization of Space,” Environmental History, 10:2 (2005), 239-268.

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This article claims that the prospect of space colonization has been of significant importance with respect to ecological debate, methodology and practice. Cabin ecological research of the improvement of submarines and underground shelters serves as the background for understanding the emergence of the “carrying capacity” concept adopted by the space program of the 1960s. Ecologists involved in space research aimed at constructing cabin ecological systems for spaceships that were subsequently used as models to understand Spaceship Earth. Space colonies came to represent the rational, orderly, and wisely managed contrast to the irrational, disorderly, and ill managed Earth. Human environmental and moral space was to be reordered according to the ideals of cabin ecology and the astronaut’s life in outer space. Despite criticisms of the managerial ethics of space colonization in the mid 1970s, cabin ecology and space technology have became important tools for ecological management. Biosphere 2 was built in Arizona as a prototype for future colonies on Mars, for example. It currently serves as a model for how humans should live within Biosphere 1 (the Earth). The challenge of today is how to get out of the intellectual capsule that ecologists have created for environmentally concerned humanists.

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