The Perils of Space Expansionism

The expansion of humanity into the far reaches of space has long been a dream portrayed in science fiction and assessed by academics. The resources that can be mined from asteroids and other planets, the guaranteed survival of humanity if an existential catastrophe were to strike Earth all seem like compelling arguments. 

But what if these dreams are built on misconceptions and unfounded illusions? What if the further expansion of humanity into space only increases the likelihood of catastrophic nuclear war, gives rise to the possibility of inter world rather than world wars, and produces a world government? In today’s episode, we consider these possibilities as we discuss the different and often contradictory goals of space expansionism, the implications that expansion scenarios have for the world order, and how the space exploration agenda can be altered to avoid these disastrous outcomes.

 The Perils of Space Expansionism

Daniel H. Deudney teaches political science, international relations and political theory at Johns Hopkins University. He holds a BA in political science and philosophy from Yale University, a MPA in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University, and a PhD in political science from Princeton University.

His most recent book is DARK SKIES: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics and the Ends of Humanity (Oxford University Press, 2020).


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