MUKESH CHIMAN BHATT
World Fires: multi-planetary environments from an outer space perspective
The outer space treaties emphasise cooperation in the scientific use and exploration of outer space. Space science includes observation of the Earth from space, as well as observation and modelling of extrasolar systems and planets. Past terrestrial conditions can studied through Martian life or the Venusian greenhouse. Such science uses Pyrrho’s scepticism as a philosophical method. Here, energy (fire) is central and transformative. ‘
Fire has transcultural connections to Central Asia, Buddhism and the modern sciences. Given its legacy to modern science, it underlies the outer space treaties, associated international space law and the free exchange of data from space, leading to current information about climate and environmental impacts. Space technologies (τέχνη) have already provided and will continue to provide solutions for sustainability. Any habitat or technology for use in space needs to be self-contained and sustainable.
Exoplanet atmospheres and chemistries or the conditions for habitable zones around stars all provide information applicable to conditions on Earth. Solutions usable on Earth include those for terraforming and geo-engineering. Planet B contaminates new environments (Tesla roadster, evolutionary interference). Proposed ecological solutions rely on the Western concept of the noble savage with privileged indigenous knowledge living in presumed harmony with nature: a non-existent old-fashioned harmony society or a return to primitive hunter-gatherer societies without our current technologies? Space technology can provide a solution but is equally likely to introduce new problems when implemented upon an industrial scale. Old technologies may be reinvigorated or renewed.
A transitional phase can combine old technology with new. The transformation of the old into new innovative configurations can lead to social and environmental allostasis through regenerative autopoiesis. Foundational space law combined with the diverse cultures of Earth can provide new forms of much-needed ecological political economy, reducing social and resource inequalities. Anthropogenic humanity reflects itself as trans- or post-human artefact, evolving through incremental evolution and sustainable revolution. Or does humanity need to replaced? “There is no future; the future is already here”.