Friday, December 4, 2015

An Adaptive Paradigm for Human Space Settlement

Off to the printer at Acta Aatronautica, the technical journal of the International Academy of Astronautics! This article (link) derives from research 2009-present and will be included in expanded in my forthcoming technical book, Principles of Space Anthropology: An Evolutionary Framework for Human Space Settlement.

Abstract: "Because permanent space settlement will be multigenerational it will have to be viable on ecological timescales so far unfamiliar to those planning space exploration. Long-term viability will require evolutionary and adaptive planning. Adaptations in the natural world provide many lessons for such planning, but implementing these lessons will require a new, evolutionary paradigm for envisioning and carrying out Earth-independent space settlement. I describe some of these adaptive lessons and propose some cognitive shifts required to implement them in a genuinely evolutionary approach to human space settlement."

Summary / Conclusions: "The cognitive shifts noted above would largely place humans and evolution at the center of human space settlement, moving away from technocracy and towards a paradigm of space settlement based on the evolutionary and adaptive principles that have served for long-term success in many forms of Earth life. Implementing these shifts in core concepts requires attention to the way we communicate about space exploration and settlement, and inclusion of these concepts in space-education materials. Implementing these shifts on the policy level will take time as students educated in this atmosphere themselves become the policy-makers. I am happy to see that some are already underway, and I will continue to familiarize space planners with evolutionary principles as my own contribution to the larger goal of the Extraterrestrial Adaptation.

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