BARBARA, CA – April 24, 2006 – The Nanoethics
Group today announced that it has been invited to
speak at the 25th annual International Space Development
Conference (ISDC), held in Los Angeles from May 4-7,
2006. Because nanotechnology will provide lighter
materials, more efficient energy sources, greater
computing power and other capabilities, it will enable
greater space travel which raises a unique set of
ethical and social questions.
Co-hosted by The National Space Society and The
Planetary Society as well as sponsored by NASA and
others, ISDC 2006 is the largest space advocacy conference,
with hundreds of presentations, interactive exhibits
and other activities. ISDC 2006 covers the spectrum
of space-related issues – including exploration,
tourism, science, technology, policy and commerce – and
boasts a full roster of prominent speakers and guests,
such as: legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Virgin
Galactic’s founder Sir Richard Branson, first
space tourist Dennis Tito and other industry and
academic leaders as well as Hollywood celebrities.
Patrick Lin, Ph.D., research director for The Nanoethics
Group, will present his paper “Space Ethics:
Look Before Taking Another Leap for Mankind” that
seeks to balance the exuberant race to develop space
commercially with reflective questions about its
ethics, beyond the usual issues involving environmental,
safety and other concerns. Specifically, if space
tourism and development are truly on our horizon,
then we stand before a rare opportunity to build
a new society in space. But just as we would not
rush into developing, for example, Antarctica without
planning ahead on issues such as property rights
and local government, the same responsibility to
think ahead also exists in space development.
The paper also raises a number of related questions
such as: What would be a fair process for commercializing
or claiming property in space (as opposed to a chaotic
land-grab similar to that with domain names in cyberspace)?
How likely would a separatist movement be among settlements
who want to be free from their mother nations on
Earth? Are reasons such as for adventure, wanderlust
or "backing up the biosphere" good enough
to justify our exploration of space?
Dr. Lin stated, “We are honored to be a part
of this international conference, and our presentation
shows that nanoethics converges with many areas of
society, including space development. We hope to
share insights on ‘the bigger picture’:
instead of thinking of our space efforts as a string
of launches and projects, this really represents
our first steps into building a new world, much like
English colonialism was more than merely sending
boats to America.”
For more information, please visit http://isdc.nss.org/2006/index.html.
Dr. Lin’s paper may be accessed at http://www.nanoethics.org/paper042406.html.
About The Nanoethics Group
The Nanoethics Group is a non-partisan and independent
research organization formed to study nanotechnology’s
impact on society and related ethical issues. As
professional ethicists, we help to identify and
evaluate possible harms and conflicts as well as
to bring balance and common sense to the debate.
Our mission is to educate and advise both organizations
and the broader public on these issues as a foundation
to guide policy and responsible research. For more
information, please visit www.nanoethics.org.
Patrick Lin, Ph.D.
The Nanoethics Group