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What Counts as Luxury in Space? | Wondros Podcast Ep 2

Originally aired on October 18, 2023

In this episode of The Wondros Podcast, hosts Jesse and Priscilla interview space archaeologist Alice Gorman. They discuss the concept of luxury in space, the field of space archaeology, the relationship between archaeology and space exploration, and the challenges of preserving space artifacts. They also explore the idea of a space graveyard, the cultural impact of space exploration, and the future of space governance.

What Counts as Luxury in Space?

  • Luxury in space can include items like fresh fruit, high-end designer products, and unique materials.
  • Luxury may be symbolized by rarities that demonstrate social status or the ability to create high-value products in space.
  • The mobilization of material goods to support social structures in space will be an interesting aspect to observe.

Space Archaeology

  • Space archaeology is the study of the artifacts, buildings, structures, and environments related to humans getting into space.
  • It is part of the broader field of contemporary archaeology, focusing specifically on space-related objects.
  • The field has gained recognition, with governments and space agencies taking it seriously and considering heritage issues in space exploration.

Spacecraft Lifecycle and Preservation

  • Spacecraft are often made by hand and can be mass-produced or involve unique materials and technologies.
  • Depending on the altitude and destination, spacecraft may burn up upon re-entry or be preserved in space or on the surface of celestial bodies.
  • The preservation and analysis of space artifacts and legacy data are crucial for future study and understanding of human space exploration.

Space Governance and Ethics

  • The question of how to govern human activities in space is a pressing issue.
  • Discussions center around issues such as labor rights, power dynamics, regulations, and the prevention of one nation gaining dominance.
  • Some propose polycentric governance and the creation of a separate government for colonies on Mars or other celestial bodies.

Cultural Impact of Space Exploration

  • Space exploration has a profound impact on culture and society, inspiring awe and fascination.
  • There is a tension between the utopian vision of equal opportunities in space and the potential for exclusive access and elitism.
  • Exploring space raises questions about the purpose and meaning of human existence and our place in the universe.

Controversies and Belief Systems

  • The controversies surrounding space exploration, such as the moon landing conspiracy theories, often stem from distrust of authority and scientific knowledge.
  • These beliefs are tied to wider belief systems and can involve religious or ideological factors.
  • The preservation of space artifacts and data can provide tangible evidence to debunk such conspiracy theories.