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April 24, 2006


The Nanoethics Group to Speak at Int’l Space Development Conference

Notable speakers include Buzz Aldrin, Burt Rutan, Bill Nye, Peter Diamandis, others

SANTA 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 Internet domain names)?  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
isdc.nss.org/2006/index.html.  Dr. Lin’s paper may be accessed at www.nanoethics.org/paper042406.html.


ABOUT US

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.

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