Absolute Prioritization of Planetary Protection, Safety, and Avoiding Imperialism in All Future Science Missions: A Policy Perspective


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The prioritization and improvement of ethics, planetary protection, and safety standards in the astro-sciences is the most critical priority as our scientific and exploratory capabilities progress, both within government agencies and the private sector.

These priorities lie in the belief that every single science mission - crewed or non-crewed, ground-based or not - should heed strict ethical and safety standards starting at the very beginning of a mission. Given the inevitability of the private sector in influencing future crewed missions both in and beyond low-Earth orbit, it is essential to the science community to agree on universal standards of safety, mission assurance, planetary protection, and especially anti-colonization. These issues will impact all areas of space science.

Examples that are particularly relevant to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey include but are not limited to: light pollution from satellites, the voices and rights of Native people when constructing telescopes on their lands, and the need to be cognizant of contamination when searching for and exploring habitable environments beyond Earth. Ultimately, moving international space law and domestic space policy from a reactive nature to a proactive one will ensure the future of space exploration is one that is safe, transparent, and anti-imperialist.

Monica Vidaurri, Alia Wofford, Jonathan Brande, Gabriel Black-Planas, Shawn Domagal-Goldman, Jacob Haqq-Misra
(Submitted on 12 Jul 2019)
Comments: 11 pages
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:1907.05834 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1907.05834v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Monica Vidaurri
[v1] Fri, 12 Jul 2019 16:50:50 UTC (329 KB)

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