All Astronautical Evolution posts in 2017:

Elon Musk’s “Great Martian” (Oct.)

Elon Musk’s Mars Plans: Highlights from His Second Iteration (Sept.)

What is a Supercivilisation? (Aug.)

Quantifying the Assumptions Behind the METI Debate (July)

Five Principles of a Sustainable Manned Mars Programme (June)

Pale Red Dot: Mars comes to Oxford (May)

Back to 2016:

Elon Musk and Mars: Looking for a Snowball Effect (Oct.)

New in 2015:

Short story The Marchioness

AE posts:

2017: Mars…

2016: Stragegic goal for manned spaceflight…

2015: The Pluto Controversy, Mars, SETI…

2014: Skylon, the Great Space Debate, exponential growth, the Fermi “paradox”…

2013: Manned spaceflight, sustainability, the Singularity, Voyager 1, philosophy, ET…

2012: Bulgakov vs. Clarke, starships, the Doomsday Argument…

2011: Manned spaceflight, evolution, worldships, battle for the future…

2010: Views on progress, the Great Sociology Dust-Up…

Chronological index

Subject index

General essays:

Index to essaysincluding:

Talk presented to students at the International Space University, May 2016

Basic concepts of Astronautical Evolution

Options for Growth and Sustainability

Mars on the Interstellar Roadmap (2015)

The Great Sociology Debate (2011)

Building Selenopolis (2008)

Towards the Sociology of the Universe –

The Great Sociology Debate

* * *


What does modern sociology have to say about human expansion into space, and how do those promoting spaceflight respond to this?

On 8 September 2010 the British Interplanetary Society in London hosted an evening lecture entitled “How should we humanise outer space?”. The presenters of that lecture, Peter Dickens and James S. Ormrod, are university lecturers in sociology, and have written a book on the subject: Cosmic Society: Towards a Sociology of the Universe (Routledge, 2007).

The resulting exchange of views was vigorous and heated. It became clear that two incompatible cultures were confronting each other. The following debate was one result:

  1. A Review of Dickens and Ormrod, Cosmic Society, by Stephen Ashworth, Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society

  2. Towards the Sociology of a Universal Society, by Stephen Ashworth

  3. A Reply to the Above Review of Cosmic Society, by Dr James S. Ormrod, University of Brighton

  4. Provisional conclusions, by Stephen Ashworth

It is my hope that my posting of these strongly worded exchanges on the web will stimulate greater understanding of the issues involved!