‘We have come to Mars for good’: Science fiction, sovereignty and the challenges of liberty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The political status of an extraterrestrial colony, especially the degree of sovereignty it possesses and its relationships with the nations and corporations that established it, will define how colonists experience the hostile non-terrestrial environment in which they live. Space science has developed sophisticated models of the psychological challenges imposed by long-duration space flight but moving from a time-limited mission to permanent habitation marks a change from a ‘state of exception’ suspending terrestrial to a revision of liberty and sovereignty in a new social order. Empirically testing the psychological challenges in advance of colonisation is not possible, but this chapter argues that current political and psychological research might be supplemented with analyses of fictional depictions of colonisation that can function as analogues and testing-grounds for models of extraterrestrial sovereignty.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInstitutions of Extraterrestrial Liberty
EditorsCharles Cockell
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • sovereignty
  • extraterrestrial liberty
  • science fiction
  • state of exception
  • space psychology


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