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Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race

Univ. of Chicago Dec. 2022. 224p. ISBN 9780226821122. $24. SCI
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Does the privatization of space travel mean that society is giving control of space exploration to capitalism? Does referring to space as the “final frontier” intimate a manifest destiny similar to the colonization of the Americas? Rubenstein’s (religion and science, Wesleyan Univ.; Pantheologies) latest (which is also categorized under “religion”) contemplates topics as wide-ranging and seemingly unrelated as philosophy, literature, religion, ecology, government, and, of course, space science. The author argues that believing in the potential utopias described by rich men, such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, is hazardous. Rubenstein says the same forces that impact the societies here on Earth will undoubtedly influence any civilization humans manage to develop off-planet, including religion and politics—and all the prejudices that come with those philosophies and beliefs.
VERDICT A singular perspective on space technology, with unexpected comparisons to colonialism that will make readers think twice about the future of humanity on other planets.
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