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Common origins and the ethics of planetary seeding

  • Tony Milligan (a1)

Faced with a choice between attempting to seed another world with terrestrially-sourced microbes (with which we would have a shared origin) and microbes sourced from elsewhere within the solar system (whose origins might therefore differ), would we have any non-instrumental ethical reason to favour the terrestrial microbes? What follows will argue that in relation to the goals of promoting life similar to our own, or even simply microbial life, we might conceivably make such an appeal and do so in a defensible manner. However, in no case would such a consideration operate as a silencer for rival considerations (such as likelihood of success, enhancing diversity or historical justice). The thought experiment serves to highlight the diversity of considerations which are in play in ethical deliberation about matters of astrobiology and the role of practical wisdom rather than trumping considerations.

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International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
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