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  • thomcheney

New Year, New(ish) Blog

Hello and welcome (or welcome back)! I have been debating relaunching this blog for a good six months now, and getting all wrapped up in thinking about format, theme etc, things I may change (such as the name), but as is often the case these preoccupations simply delay actually doing a thing and its often best to just get ‘stuck in’. Inevitably this blog will change from its initial incarnation as I’ve changed, and so has the world. When I first started this I was a PhD candidate in space law at Sunderland University, and one of the objectives was to raise my profile. Most posts were written on trains or aeroplanes after returning from a conference, meeting or research trip and were related to that. One of the reasons I found it increasingly difficult to find time to write posts was due to the fact that I haven’t travelled anywhere since March 2020, so what turned into a temporary break so I could finish up my PhD[1] gradually became longer and longer! Then I was dealing with a new job (Lecturer in Space Governance at the Open University, more on that in a minute) and the whole pandemic thing… so, yeah, it’s been a while…

But in a sense, that’s been a good thing, during the past two years with AstrobiologyOU I’ve had that most precious of thing: time. Time to read, time to think. I’ve grown and developed as a scholar not just because I’ve made that transition from PhD to lecturer but because of the time I’ve had to develop my thinking, my research, and the people I’ve interacted with. I am fortunate to have some truly brilliant colleagues and our conversations have been enlightening and inspiring. Hopefully this ‘relaunched’ blog will reflect that development. I don’t really have a plan but 2022 needs to be a ‘writing year’ for me and I’ve found writing these posts to be quite useful in terms of helping to organize and clarify my thoughts on topics before. Hopefully you’ll also find them interesting, perhaps even useful! Just a reminder, or perhaps a caveat, that this is a blog post, what appears here will be things that aren’t ready or suitable for more academic pieces, though I can assure you they won’t be ‘hot takes’ if for no other reason than I can’t move that quickly!

Anyway, what I can say, is that while my research and interests are still very much focused on space resources and the future of humanity in outer space, I’m focused much more on the context of these issues these days. The historical, political, social, geographical, and ecological context. So, in addition to posts discussing aspects of the Artemis Accords and other related developments in space law, I’ll also be generating posts on things like the ‘Ethics of Terraforming’[2] and other posts. For a taster, you can check out my presentation to the London Science Fiction Research Community’s 2020 conference ‘Green Mars: Ecological Imperialism in Science Fiction and Implications for Space Governance’.

Finally, by way of disclaimer, while I will be discussing my work, my work is reflective of my views not those of my employer. And I’ve decided to leave comments open for now, hopefully my audience will remain small enough so that it doesn’t become an issue but I do reserve the right to change that.

[1]which I successfully defended in March 2020 though at Northumbria University but still under the brilliant Chris Newman

[2]which will be post number one as I’m currently writing stuff on that for the new International, Environmental, and Space Law module which the OU Law School will start offering in February 2023 (see: https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/qualifications/details/w260?orig=r81&setAcc=true)

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