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Addressing Disaster and Health Risks for Sustainable Outer Space

Harris, Myles; Duda, Patrizia I; Kelman, Ilan; Glick, Navonel; (2022) Addressing Disaster and Health Risks for Sustainable Outer Space. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 10.1002/ieam.4668. (In press). Green open access

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Any future outer space exploration and exploitation should more fully consider disaster and health risks as part of aiming for sustainability. The advent of the so-called "New Space" race, age, or era characterised by democratisation, commercialization, militarisation, and overlapping outer space activities such as tourism presents challenges for disaster-related and health-related risks in and for outer space. Such challenges have been extensively researched for Earth, but less so for space. This article presents an overview of key aspects for addressing disaster and health risks in outer space within a wider sustainability framing. After an introduction providing background and scope, this article's next section considers some key health and disaster risks within sustainable outer space and offers insights from Earth. The following two sections apply this knowledge by focusing on how analogue missions and international legal and voluntary regimes can each be used to reduce risks and potentially make outer space healthier and safer. The findings advocate that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience about mitigating risks to health and disaster risk reduction on Earth that can inform space flight and exploration. The examples explored include the physical, legal, and regulatory aspects of the "new space" industry, which highlights the relevance of equating examples on Earth. The article concludes that expectations must be managed regarding scenarios for which response, rescue, and recovery are precluded, prompting a necessary focus on prevention and risk reduction. In doing so, Earth-based scenarios and aspects of the so-called "Old Space" offer useful insights and should be examined further for "New Space". This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.© 2022 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).

Type: Article
Title: Addressing Disaster and Health Risks for Sustainable Outer Space
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/ieam.4668
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/ieam.4668
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Keywords: Analogue research, Disaster risks, Health risks, Space exploration
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10154134
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