We are in the midst of a new space race that pairs billionaire space barons with governments in an effort to exploit the cosmos for human gain. While Elon Musk and SpaceX work to establish a human presence on Mars, Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin work toward mining operations on the moon, missions to asteroids to extract resources, and millions of people living in rotating near-Earth satellite dwellings. Despite the differences in their visions, these two billionaires share a core utopian project: the salvation of humanity though the colonization of space. But we have already seen the destructive effects of this frontier spirit in the centuries-long history of European colonialism.
Philosopher of religion and space enthusiast Mary-Jane Rubenstein wants to pull back the curtain on the not-so-new myths these space barons are peddling. In Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race (U Chicago Press, 2022), she explains why these myths are so problematic and offers a vision for how we might approach the exploration of space in ways that don't reproduce the atrocities of humanity's previous colonial endeavors.