Broadcast 3631 Dr. Deana Weibel

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The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest:  Dr. Deana Weibel; Topics:  We discussed Dr. Weibel’s paper,” Following the Path That Heroes Carved into History: space Tourism, Heritage, and Faith in the Future”.  In addition, our guest responded to multiple questions on related topics.  You can read and download her paper at

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We welcomed back to the program Dr. Deana Weibel to discuss her paper, “Following the Path That Heroes Carved into History: space Tourism, Heritage, and Faith in the Future.”  In addition, our guest responded to multiple email questions focusing in on religious and spiritual matters in association with human space exploration and human spaceflight.  For human spaceflight, our guest considered both space tourists and NASA astronauts.  Early in the discussion, our guest made the point of making sure we knew the term spaceflight participant which she talked about in some detail later in our discussion.  That said, we started the discussion with our guest pointing out that heroes were involved in early spaceflight.  Professor Weibel then spent time carefully describing what was meant by talking about heroes either with spaceflight participants or government designated astronauts.  Professor Weibel then mentioned many famous previous explorers, including Neil Armstrong, Shackleton and others throughout history.  Note how our guest described their heroic exploration that of the many historically famous earlier explorers.  This theme was carried through for our full discussion.  When reading her paper, you will see all the famous heroic explorers mentioned in the context of the early space pioneers also being heroes. 

During our discussion, our guest talked about imagining the future.  This prompted an email from listener Todd asking about imagining or visualizing a future though the future was not real at this time.  Don’t miss what Deana said in response to Todd plus how differentiated imagining the future from an imaginary future.  Let us know what you think by posting your views on our blog for this show. Following on Todd’s email, our guest talked about seeing space as a religion but she did not say that was a commonly held view in the industry.  Listener Jack then sent in a note seeking a specific comparison with space heroes and heroes of the past.

We moved to another topic, looking at eventual space residents (space settlements) and asking our guest if they would be religious or what their faith might look like.  Again, don’t miss all of what Deana said on this topic but she did say there was no ideal religion. We both talked about how those living in space might practice an Earth based religion but what would that religion look like in space.  As an example, she mentioned a religion here on Earth using a lunar calendar and what that might look like on the Moon or Mars or in free space. This was an interesting discussion that you will want to hear.  Another listener asked our guest if people felt that by going into space they were getting physically close to God.  Deana cited examples from past astronauts comments on this and similar topics.  Randy then sent in a note asking if religion, God, faith might be used to market spaceflight in a commercial sense. Our guest said yes but that the market for that had to be much larger than the market today. 

Dr. Weibel fielded a question on what she thought about possible faith if extraterrestrial life was ever discovered.   Don’t miss her comments pertaining to panspermia and more. We talked about science fiction and she mentioned the Ad Astra movie plus she talked about The Expanse.  As we were moving toward the end of our discussion, I asked our guest about politics and faith in space.  This was a terrific mini-discussion, even talking about past nations using politics for conquering. Deana even mentioned the US Space Force and their recent campaign which drew on faith and religion in recruiting.  For sure listen to what she said about this.

A late program topic was introduced by listener Alan when he asked her if there was a downside to space tourism.  She said the downside might be in the term space tourism.  Be sure to listen to how she explained this idea.  This discussion also included commentary  on the other side, the upside to space tourism.   Once again, we would like to know what you think on this subject.  Before drawing to a close, our guest offered us important closing comments plus we asked her about her future article and publishing plans.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog for this show. You can reach Professor Weibel through her university faculty page or me.




Commercial space, space tourism, humanity, faith and more

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19 Jan 2021 Dr. Deana Weibel
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  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • The Space Foundation Conference

  • helix-space the space show sponsor