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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

"The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams."

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Space Ethics

Space Exploration and Ethics

We are entering an unprecedented era of space exploration. Commercial and private sector space travel, missions to Mars, military space technology, among other things, are all growing at an incredible rate. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others have made history by creating advances that make space vacations more plausible than ever. As we look forward to the wonders of space, it is important to remember the human impact of our space obsession and the effects it may have on our own planet.

Throughout history, humans have explored new places making both good and bad ethical decisions along the way. As humanity proceeds to explore space, it is important that we learn from the successes and consider issues such as human health, environmental concerns, safety and risk, governance and decision-making, and opportunities and challenges of multidisciplinary and international contexts, and not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Brian Patrick Green: Space Ethics and Moon Settlements

Brian Patrick Green joins "Chai on the Moon" podcast host Salman Hameed to discuss if humans should plan to establish a permanent presence on Moon and Mars and what are some of the ethical questions that we must address regarding settlements on the Moon?

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Space Ethics Webinar

In this webinar, "Space Ethics" Author, Brian Patrick Green addresses the many ethical viewpoints on space exploration and travel, providing insight into both the future and the present of the human race to space. View the recording, or follow the Markkula Center on social media for information on future events!

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"Space Ethics" by Brian Patrick Green

“We are at the beginning of the true space age, and this groundbreaking work is the first to explore the wide array of ethical issues this exciting new era brings to the fore: from space debris to planetary protection to the search for life on other worlds. It is destined to become a classic in the field.”

—Kelly C. Smith, professor of philosophy and biological sciences at Clemson University and president of the Society for Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology

Learn More About the Book or Purchase "Space Ethics"

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About Brian Patrick Green

Brian Patrick Green is the director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Green teaches AI ethics in the Graduate School of Engineering and formerly taught several other engineering ethics courses. He is coauthor of the Ethics in Technology Practice corporate technology ethics resources.

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Media Commentary
The moon in a night sky.

Brian Green, director, technology ethics, quoted by Inverse.

Galaxy Space Universe

Brian Green, director, technology ethics, featured on an episode of Kainaat Astronomy in English podcast.

Planet Earth, a worm hole, and images of the Star Wars Death Star

Brian Green, director, technology ethics and author of "Space Ethics", interviewed by The Pillar.

Brian Patrick Green displays his new book,

Brian Green, director, technology ethics interviewed by NPR's "Are we There yet?" Podcast.

Brian Green, director of technology ethics, discusses his new book, "Space Ethics", on The Space Show Podcast.

Brian Patrick Green, director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, interviewed on The Philosopher & The News podcast.

Time for a Prime Directive?

A Conversation on Space and Planetary Ethics

Brian Green joins this conversation hosted by Humanity in Deep Space about the serious debate for developing a set of modern, inclusive, enforceable ethical standards for space that extends further than the issue of interference with other forms of life.

Articles on Ethics and Space Exploration

Tech Ethics Program Director Brian Patrick Green discusses the ethical implications of exploring Mars in this compelling podcast.


Guidelines as we pack for Mars.

Margaret R. McLean

A response to Brian Green.

A discussion on the ethical implications of a human mission to Mars, led by the Ethics Center's staff Margaret McLean and Brian Green.

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For More Information

The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics staff and affiliated scholars can provide commentary and background information for media on a variety of issues pertaining to the ethics of space exploration and other space related topics.

For commentary and background information about space ethics or other topics in applied ethics contact Joel Dibble, Senior Director, News and Public Relations at