Grappling with the Gray

Grappling with the Gray #70: The Final Frontier?

November 22, 2023 Yonason Goldson Episode 70
Grappling with the Gray
Grappling with the Gray #70: The Final Frontier?
Show Notes

Should we look to the stars to solve our problems, or do we already have enough to deal with here on earth?

The ethics of space pioneering is the subject of my conversation with NASA program director Michael Ciannilli.

As children, virtually all of us are enamored with the idea of space flight. As we get older, however, we may lose our youthful enthusiasm as we contemplate the ethical questions space exploration raises.

Should we be spending millions of dollars collecting sand on Mars when we have so many problems here on earth? Should we be risking astronauts’ lives on glamorous missions, and now civilian lives as space tourism becomes more popular?

What about the dangers of space debris, of too many low earth orbit satellites, of infecting other planets with microorganisms? What about commercialization of space activities, the militarization of space, and the influence of partisan politics on the decision guiding our space programs?

Obviously, we don’t have time to tackle all these issues. But what systems are in place to address the ethics of space travel? And what are some fundamental values, principles, and mindsets that govern the decision-making of space exploration?

Meet this week's very special guest:

Michael Ciannilli is the Apollo, Challenger, Columbia Lessons Learned Program Manager at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where he develops innovative events, media productions, and activities to powerfully enshrine the lessons of failure to influence future success. Prior to this role, Mike served as Test Project Engineer and systems engineer for the Space Shuttle Program. In 2003, he spent weeks searching in a helicopter over the skies of Texas finding and bringing home Columbia and her crew.

#ethics #spaceexploration #nasa #perspective #grappling