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Further Information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr.-Ing. Christian J. Langenbach
  • Contact: Dr. rer. nat. Stephan Lingner, Dipl.-Geol.
  • Publications:
    A. Pompidou: "The Ethics of Space Policy, Proceeding, UNESCO-COMTEST and ESA, 4/2000
    C. F. Gethmann: "Humans in Space" and "Manned Space Travel as a Cultural Mission", Papers, Seminar of Paris on The Ethics of Outer Space, UNESCO-ESA, 9/1999
  • Duration: 9/99-4/00

Ethics in Space

In the last four decades space technology has achieved a high capability which has led to the building of orbital stations and satellites for communications, earth observation and the positioning of earth-based mobile communicators. Germany has played an active role in space research from the earliest stages. By participating in the new international space station, Germany will open up new possibilities for space based experiments.
The main goal of the use of space technology is to obtain information, energy or material to enhance the quality of life on earth. This global dimension of scientific and technological development contains benefits but also presents new risks, which involve the need to protect humans through the help of social, legal, and ethical research based on moral reasoning in identifying ethical dilemmas. Within the framework of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), a working group on the Ethics of Outer Space was set up. The study group supported the scientific work of this working group by considering, in particular, ethical questions, the spatial limits of human action, the exploration of space, the scientific research of space, and the commercial utilisation of outer space.
The study group finished its own work and its presentations by reporting about the UNESCO-project, “The Ethics of Outer Space”.