Erika Nesvold

Erika Nesvold, an astrophysicist, has worked as a researcher at NASA Goddard and the Carnegie Institution for Science. She is a developer for Universe Sandbox, a physics-based space simulator; cofounder of the nonprofit organization the JustSpace Alliance; and the creator and host of the podcast Making New Worlds.

  • Off-Earth

    Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space

    Erika Nesvold

    Can we do better in space than we've done here on Earth?

    We've pinpointed the destination, refined the technology, designed the habitat, outfitted our space residents. Are we forgetting something? A timely reminder that it's not just rocket science, this thought-provoking book explores the all-too-human issues raised by the prospect of settling in outer space. It's worth remembering, Erika Nesvold suggests, that in making new worlds, we don't necessarily leave our earthly problems behind. Accordingly, her work highlights the complex ethical challenges that accompany any other-worldly venture—questions about the environment, labor rights, and medical ethics, among others.

    Any such venture, Nesvold contends, must be made on behalf of all humanity, with global input and collaboration. Off-Earth thus includes historical and contemporary examples from outside the dominant Western/US, abled, and privileged narrative of the space industry. Nesvold calls on experts in ethics, sociology, history, social justice, and law to launch a hopeful conversation about the potential ethical pitfalls of becoming a multi-planet species—and, ideally, to shed light on similar problems we presently face here on Earth.

    Space settlement is rapidly becoming ever more likely. Will it look like the utopian vision of Star Trek? Or the dark future of Star Wars? Nesvold challenges us to decide.

    • Hardcover $27.95