at The Wheeler Centre

Privatisation of Space

Mars One, a private, not-for-profit Netherlands company, plans to send four colonists on a one-way trip to Mars by 2025. The $6 billion trip - by their estimates - will be partly funded by a reality television program … if it ever gets off the ground (experts have serious hesitations). Richard Branson’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic, is shrouded in a similar mix of grand dreams and legitimate doubt. Last year’s shuttle crash in the California desert was a reminder that recreational space travel is inherently risky … though Branson maintains it’s business as usual for his goal of allowing anyone with the financial means to visit space, to ‘experience the awe of seeing Earth from above’.

Throughout human history, fewer than 550 humans have been to space. Is all this about to change? What are the potential political, cultural and environmental impacts of space travel, funded and organised by corporations whose interests are commercially led? And could giant leaps into space result in smaller steps for mankind here on earth, when it comes to fixing the problem of climate change?

Welcome to space exploration, 21st century style.

Hosted by Angus Hervey, our panel includes Mars One finalist Dianne McGrath, space startup accelerator CEO Tim Parsons (delta-V) and space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman.

A good event starts great conversations. Here’s your chance to stay back a while and meet the guest speakers. Nibbles provided. Drinks at bar prices.


Portrait of Dianne McGrath

Dianne McGrath

Dianne McGrath is a shortlisted Mars One astronaut candidate, seeking to establish the first permanent human settlement on Mars. A sustainability consultant doing research at RMIT University on food waste, Dianne has completed multiple university degrees, and has had an extensive career in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Portrait of Angus Hervey

Angus Hervey

Angus Hervey is a science communicator, with a background in environmental economics and international political economy. He is the co-founder of Future Crunch, a forum for critical debate on how recent scientific and technological breakthroughs are affecting the way people live and work.

Portrait of Alice Gorman

Alice Gorman

Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. Her research on space junk and lunar heritage has been featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker and Wired. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University and a faculty member of the International Space University's Southern Hemisphere Space Program in Adelaide.

Her book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future was published in 2019, and won the Mark and Evette Moran NIB Literary Award People’s Choice. She blogs at Space Age Archaeology.

Portrait of Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is a seasoned tech exec and entrepreneur who also happens to be founding CEO of Sydney-based, Space 2.0-focused startup accelerator delta-V SpaceHub.


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