What is Astrosociology?
by, Jim Pass
Definition of the Field
Astrosociology is a relatively new field defined as the study of astrosocial phenomena (i.e., the social, cultural, and behavioral patterns related to outer space). The field originally began as a sociological perspective almost exclusively for a very short time. Almost immediately, however, it became clear that contributions were required from the other social and behavioral sciences, the humanities, and the arts (hereafter referred to as the “social sciences” for brevity). Thus, from almost the very beginning, astrosociology was intended as both (1) a subdiscipline of sociology and (2) a multidisciplinary field that includes, but is by no means limited to disciplines/fields such as psychology, anthropology, economics, social psychology, political science, space history, space law, space policy, philosophy, as well as the arts. Thus, astrosociology is more inclusive than merely a sociological approach!
Astrosociology in its current form was founded and introduced in 2004 by Dr. Jim Pass to fill a void in the social sciences that seemed nearly as expansive as the vacuum of space. It is intended to make space research more balanced by adding a major focus — the human dimension — to our understanding of space exploration and related areas of inquiry such as space societies (more commonly referred to as space settlements and space colonies). The field of astrosociology takes a perspective that emphasizes the study of the relationship between “outer space and society,” sometimes referred to as the “intersection between space exploration and humanity.” This relationship is characterized by a two-way, or reciprocal, interaction between the two and occurs at the micro, middle (or meso), macro, global, and, at some point in the future, the interplanetary level.
The Barboza Space Center will add an astrosociologist in training to each astronaut tiger team. We are conducting simulated Mars colonization simulations and we are going to continue working with Dr. Pass and other astrosociologists.