In 2016, I spent a summer in Silicon Valley doing planetary defense research with NASA’s Frontier Development Lab. My interactions with private space companies during those months highlighted the enthusiasm that space settlement enthusiasts have for creating future societies in space, but also the need for more discussion about potential ethical issues including property rights, labor rights, reproductive rights, planetary protection, and inclusivity in space.
Inspired by this experience, in 2017-2018 I produced and hosted a 13-episode podcast, Making New Worlds, in which I interviewed experts such as historians, sociologists, activists, and ethicists on these topics in the context of space settlement. I later attended the Decolonizing Mars conference at the Library of Congress, hosted by astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz. In 2019, Lucianne and I co-founded the nonprofit organization The JustSpace Alliance, whose mission is to advocate for a more inclusive and ethical future in space, and to harness visions of tomorrow for a more just and equitable world today.