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.
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:
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
The following is a list of "works in progress," ideas, critiques, and analyses for future publications. Potentials for future papers include:
Meetings, conferences, and similar notices of interest:
Links to other sites and other work that is pertinent to outer space issues.