January 7, 2021

Nicholls Professor’s Book Poses Societal Questions About Life Outside Earth

Nicholls Professor’s Book Poses Societal Questions About Life Outside Earth

A professor from Nicholls State University is looking to the stars and answering large social questions in a new book, so reports a press release from the university.   Dr. James Gilley, a political science assistant professor from Nicholls wrote and recently published the book, Space Civilization: An Inquiry into the Social Questions for Humans Living in Space. The book focuses on furthering the conversation on social ramifications of life in space, as the international advancement of various space exploration programs moves forward.

All across the globe, several countries have launched various projects that take a serious, research-based look at settling Mars, due to the planet’s proximity and similarities to our own, and while many qualified experts are focusing on the technology involved in the transportation to the planet and the technology involved in sustaining life, the Nicholls professor’s book poses questions on the human component. Space Civilization poses questions on topics such as identity, conflict, and governance, as the societal impact of colonization is set to be just as important as sustaining out-of-orbit life.

Dr. Gilley believes that his book will appeal to social scientists, though he wrote the book with a broader audience in mind, with him believing that Space Civilization will appeal to anyone interested in just how human society would function in different ways in space, off-world, and just outside Earth. Many are interested in continuing that conversation, and he hopes that his book can satisfy that curiosity.

“While a few answers are explored, this book is meant to kickstart a larger conversation about what social and human questions we will face as we attempt to become a multi-planetary species,” Dr. Gilley explained.  “Until now, most of that discussion has focused on the nuts and bolts engineering and technical questions. But the fact that we are talking about having human beings live and work in space and on other celestial bodies makes this a much more interesting question. Humans are much less predictable, and that makes the human questions much more difficult to answer.”

The question of humans becoming Martians, or at least Mars-bound, isn’t necessarily a question of “if?” for many experts, but “when?” Dr. Gilley estimates that the possibility of Mars colonization could take place in as little time as 15 years, depending on how human society invests in the project. So, with such a quickly-approaching possibility advancing on us, questions such as governance and societal ramifications of off-Earth living demand complex answers.

Nicholls Professor, Dr. James Gilley’s Space Civilization: An Inquiry into the Social Questions for Humans Living in Space proves that smaller institutions like Nicholls can be at the forefront of such cutting edge topics. Speaking on the impact of such institutions, Gilley stated, “At four-year universities like Nicholls, the social sciences are often relegated to the role of simply teaching students. While I deeply believe that that is the core mission of any educational institution, we have more to offer. Nicholls can be at the forefront of big human discussion, and the political science department can attract high-quality students and faculty willing to research and discuss the big questions about humanity’s future.”

The Nicholl’s professor’s book was published in the fall of 2020 by Lexington Books, and is available via bookseller outlets like Amazon, as it focuses on the questions of social sciences that must be answered in the likely event that humanity begins to earnestly move towards becoming a multi-planetary civilization. SpaceCivilization highlights the most pressing economic, political, and societal questions of space civilization.

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