Outer Space Consulting

Keeping social and environmental goals in the space exploration and exploitation formula 

About Outer Space Consulting

Welcome to Outer Space


Human activities in outer space are no longer science fiction, and the rates of our exploration and use of space are rapidly accelerating.  It's time to apply lessons learned here on Earth to this new environment. 



  • To assist industries, scientists, academics, and others with interests in outer space exploration and exploitation in recognizing the critical role of extraterrestrial environmental awareness in achieving and sustaining their goals, and 
  • To provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas on how to bring social, ethical, and environmental concerns into outer space conversations.

Outer Space Consulting


Offering expertise in developing novel and practical approaches to address the social, ethical, and environmental issues that will emerge with our use of outer space.  Some potentials include:

  • Creating an environmental assessment process to reduce costs, sustain development, reassure investors, and maintain options for future use.
  • Fulfilling requirements of the Outer Space Treaty to support outer space as the “common heritage of humankind.”
  • Addressing the ethical issues associated with our relationship with extraterrestrial resources.

I hope this website will be both provocative and liberating. If you find the information, articles and other postings useful,  please let me know and alert others to this site.

William R. Kramer



Mars Extant Life Conference rescheduled for November 5-8, 2019.

 I will be presenting a paper at the National Cave and Karst Research Institute's "Mars Extant Life: What's Next?" conference in New Mexico in November 2019.  My presentation: "Giving Voice to the Extraterrestrial - Providing legal standing to the unknown."  

The paper:  In short, should we discover life on Mars or elsewhere (microbial scale organisms, not the Hollywood alien variety), what should be our ethical relationship?  Will we be able to own it, patent it, or exploit it without any ethical consideration?  The overwhelming opinion is that because it will be small by human standards, it deserves no ethical consideration based entirely on its size (this was the approach taken by the 1976 Viking missions that searched for life on Mars, then incinerated the sample regardless of what was found.  Had life been discovered, our first encounter would have set a lethal precedent).  My position is that size is irrelevant, and that, at a minimum, the entity should be provided ad litem human representation now, before it is discovered. 

Demonstrated human interest in any extraterrestrial organism improves chances that it may be granted standing in judicial systems.  Without standing, it may be difficult to argue its behalf, especially if challenged by commercial or political forces.

I've designed tshirts that proclaim: SAVE THE MARTIAN MICROBE, which should generate some interest.!  

I am currently writing a paper for publication, and will update progress here.

If interested in the conference: 


International Space University 2019

I will be leading two workshops and providing one lecture at ISU's Space Studies Program 2019 this summer in Strasbourg, France.  Workshops will address extraterrestrial environmental ethics and bioethics and the lecture will introduce basic concepts of futures studies and how they apply to outer space.



  • William earned a BS in wildlife biology at the University of Maryland (1970), an MA in Political Science (environmental policy) and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from the University of Hawaii (1986). In 2005, he became interested in astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life, returned to UH, and was awarded a doctorate in Political Science and Futures Studies in 2012. His dissertation, “Bioethical considerations and property rights issues associated with the discovery of extraterrestrial biological entities -- Implications for political policy in the context of futures studies,” provided new perspectives on the relationships of bioethics and concepts of the ownership of life to the political process of space exploration and exploitation. 
  • He served in the US Submarine Service (the ultimate space analog!); US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; Primate and Large Carnivore divisions at the National Zoological Park; as a wildlife biologist with the Smithsonian Institution; and 19 years with FWS’s Endangered Species Program in Honolulu and Washington D.C.  He retired from Federal service in 1997 as Chief of Endangered Species Recovery and Consultation.  After returning to Hawaii, he taught biology and bioethics at the Punahou Academy and Hawaii Pacific University. In 2001 he was contracted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command and U.S. Pacific Fleet where he was a senior environmental scientist for 13 years, advising on a wide range of endangered species and environmental policy issues. William is currently HDR, Inc.’s Extraterrestrial Environmental Analyst, exploring ways to encourage space ventures to consider their potential impact on the Moon and Mars.
  • He has served as Mission Commander at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah and as First Tier Mission Support for NASA’s Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation study. More recently, he has taught seminars and workshops for the International Space University in Strasbourg, France (2013, 2014) and in Delft, the Netherlands (summer 2018). 
  • His publications include critiques on astrobiology, the culture of outer space exploration, bioethics, and the application of intellectual property rights (patents) to potential extraterrestrial life.  Current academic research includes assessing potential environmental impacts on extraterrestrial landscapes, Aldo Leopold’s land ethic as applied to space exploration, the concept of cultural and political boundaries in outer space, and the growing effect of technology on bioethics. 
  • Although he now lives in Frederick, Maryland, William remains affiliated with the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies (University of Hawaii) and is a member of the following organizations:
    • The Space Society
    • The Long Now Foundation 
    • World Futures Studies Federation
    • National Association of Environmental Professionals
    • International Society for  Environmental Ethics
    • SETI
    • Moon Village Association
    • Secure World Federation
    • For All Moonkind
    • Nonhuman Rights Project

What I Offer


  • My perspective draws on experiences in field biology, science administration, environmental assessment, academia,  environmental policy, intellectual property law and other fields to consider issues of outer space exploration and development. 
  • My goals are to both propose practical solutions that can be implemented in the near future and to provide insight to address more theoretical issues of outer space exploration and exploitation.   
  • I am available as a speaker, advisor, and workshop facilitator.

Reinvent Everything


           My mentor and good friend, Dr. Jim Dator of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, affirms, “Outer Space provides us the opportunity to reinvent EVERYTHING!” One of our biggest challenges as we move into this century of outer space is to not squander those opportunities. We must not repeat past mistakes just because they have become routine, convenient and expected -- just because we, as a multitude of cultures and histories, have always done things that way.    That theme provides a foundation for most of my thoughts and writing about outer space exploration and exploitation.  It's certainly applicable to the social sciences in areas such as governance design, geopolitics, international relations, and even law, intellectual property and patenting.  But it also applies to biology --  It is becoming increasingly apparent that we will be evolving physically as well as psychologically to adapt to new environments in space. As we continue to extend our reach, reinvention will, perhaps, apply to physics, as well.

            In short, be inventive! If the world was starting all over again, how might humans have made wiser choices for the centuries to come?  We are taking the first steps at starting new worlds, and we CAN reinvent everything!  Space is not only an opportunity to do that, it's necessary if we expect to be successful.  

2014- The Year We Make Contact

This 1-hour informal interview on ThinkTech Hawaii from 2014 touches on my personal and professional background and interests.   Note:  No, I did not think that contact with ET would happen in 2014 -- but it's a great tag!  ThinkTech devised that title.

Unpublished Work and Miscellaneous Musings

  The following is a list of "works in progress," ideas, critiques, and analyses for future publications. Potentials for future papers include: 

  • Co-authoring paper with Margaret Race of SETI that offers potential procedures for environmental impact assessment for extraterrestrial actions.
  • How are concepts of political boundaries counterproductive, and even dangerous, when applied to extraterrestrial bodies? 
  • How does technology shape our practice of bioethics? 
  • How might we apply the International Law of the Sea to extraterrestrial exploitation? 
  • How do we value the concerns of future generations in outer space exploitation? 
  • How might we give "voice" to extraterrestrial life and landscapes?
  • Why were the Viking missions ethically unsound and what can be done to make future mission ethically defensible?
  • Problems in using the Antarctic Treaty System as a presumed "ideal" model for outer space research communities. 
  • Why do we still use the language of domination and colonialism in describing our relationship with outer space? 
  • What would Aldo Leopold do? Applying Leopold’s land ethic to extraterrestrial bodies.


Links to Upcoming Events

Meetings, conferences, and similar notices of interest:

  • Int'l Astronautical Congress, October 21-25, 2019, Washington, DC.
  • Mars Extant Life - What's Next?, conference, November 5-8, 2019, Carlsbad, NM.
  • Society for Literature, Science and the Arts conference. November 7-10, 2019. Irvine, CA.
  • Society for the Social and Societal Issues  in Astrobiology conference. March 26-29, 2020,  Mississippi State Univ.
  • Earth & Space 2020. July 12, 2020. Seattle, WA.

Links to Others' Work

Links to other sites and other work that is pertinent to outer space issues.

And Now For Something Completely Different - Other news when it happens.

  • The Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Conference is hosting a panel, "The Future of Microbes and Microbiomes Scholarship." I will be sitting on this unusual panel and presenting a paper on bioethical relationships with the microbial world.  A very different topic.  SLSA should generate some interesting perspectives.


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Outer Space Consulting

607 Lindbergh Court, Frederick, Maryland 21701, US

(808) 551-5916