Ethically navigating the next frontier

New advances in space technology and science potentially open up whole new worlds for humans to explore. This is a very exciting time in human history as we continue to push the frontiers of knowledge. However, not all innovation is positive, and even the development of ‘good’ technologies can have negative outcomes. 

Space Ethics is concerned with examining the idea that just because we can do certain things in space, it doesn't mean we should. From space exploration to environmental ethics, it examines the ethical questions advances in space research might raise and it attempts to find potential solutions to those problems. 

Space Ethics at UNSW Canberra examines these difficult questions and works in collaboration with other UNSW Canberra Space projects.

Associated schools, institutes & centres


Space Ethics researchers Stephen Coleman and Nikki Coleman, in collaboration with scholars from the Consortium for Emerging Technologies Military Operations and National Security (CETMONS) in the United States, are examining a wide variety of ethical issues relating to space. Some questions currently being considered include: 

  • What are the ethical challenges arising from the use of space in armed conflict?  

  • Is there a fair process for ownership of space 'real estate'? 

  • What are the ethical challenges regarding medical experimentation on astronauts? 

  • How safe should space travel (or space tourism) be? 

  • Should we worry about damaging space environments? 


CETMONS is a multidisciplinary organisation comprised of institutions and individuals in academia, the military and other branches of government together with the private sector who are engaged in research, teaching, public education and outreach, policy-making, and policy advising on ethical, legal, social, and policy issues raised by emerging military technologies.

Our researchers

Chair for Intelligent Space Systems Russell Boyce
Chair for Intelligent Space Systems
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Associate Professor of International and Political Studies Stephen Coleman
Associate Professor of International and Political Studies
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