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An essay on extraterrestrial liberty

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-275
Number of pages21
JournalJbis-Journal of the british interplanetary society
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


The lethal environmental conditions in outer space and the surfaces of other planetary bodies will force a need for regulations to maintain safety to an extent hitherto not seen on the Earth, even in polar environments. The level of inter-dependence between individuals that will emerge will provide mechanisms for exerting substantial control. In extraterrestrial environments traditional buffers to tyranny that exist on the Earth are either absent or much weaker. Legislative and political mechanisms used to protect freedom will be needed to such a degree that they themselves are likely to become a form of despotism. Thus, the most profound irony of the settlement of space is that the endless and apparently free expanses of interplanetary and interstellar space will in fact allow for, and nurture, some of the most appalling tyrannies that human society can contrive. Thwarting this tyranny will be the greatest social challenge in the successful establishment of extraterrestrial settlements.

    Research areas

  • liberty, Mars, extraterrestrial, space settlement, tyranny, MARS, POLICY

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