Outer space is our environment, too

Humans are setting out for the stars. Our space environment is being used more and more intensively, mega constellations are beginning to light up the night sky and disrupt science. Junk is accumulating in the more heavily used Earth orbits. It’s not just the U.S. that wants to go back to the Moon, and this time plans to use its resources. As time on Earth is limited, we need to move. But we need ethical guidelines in the area of outer space, which is an international domain, especially because the law remains open to interpretation. Moreover, we need to link the issues of sustainable space use with the environmental debate here on Earth: we should discuss an 18th Sustainable Development Goal for our space environment. #SDG18

My project is special because ...

I recognized the challenge a few years ago and - as my publications show - I am one of the pioneers in addressing this issue. However, because the topic is so new and so interdisciplinary, it is difficult to find support from traditional scientific institutions. I have pursued the theme in corona times on a voluntary basis, now it is time for a focused update, and a public workshop, #PLASUS21, with experts in the field.

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This is what I need backing for.

I would like to bring together key space actors and sustainability thinkers at a workshop for an assessment of the current situation and the formulation of ethical ideas and questions. Research, preparation and implementation will cost time and money. (10% of the money is used by wemakeit.) I would like to fund at least 3 months of a 65% position at the University of Bern for me, to organize and evaluate the PLASUS21 workshop, including writing a report and a research paper based on it. That’s still pretty tight on time, but certainly worth the commitment. If sponsors are more generous, even more is possible!

Picture Credits Title Image: NASA