Design for resilience in the space ecosystem: A cosmopolitan approach

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There is a need for environmental sustainability also beyond the atmosphere: Human activities are causing a tragedy of the commons in outer space, and most of the world population does not know anything about it. Outer space has become a non-cooperative game for a few players with infinite resources, in an environment with limited resources. The threat of space debris is real and governments will spend hundreds of millions in the following years trying to solve it, by using the money of unaware taxpayers. This is the legacy for the future generations of space citizens.

With this graduation project I aim at raising awareness about the space debris issue and at enabling people to give a small individual contribution, which can be worth much as a collective action. I designed a cultural metaverse to educate the new generations of space citizens through the use of advanced immersive technologies. People can get access to its services by purchasing a NFT connected to a specific piece of debris in orbit. Once the piece is actually removed the NFT becomes part of the Museum of Space Resilience, a virtual environment paying a tribute to the NFT owner, to the company who made the removal mission possible and to the government that allowed it. The initiative is intended as non for profit, since all the income generated will be spent to fund other removal missions, in a circular business model. A cosmopolitan approach to help humanity make space truly democratic, by turning space situational awareness into a civilian service.

My research is based on the most recent theories about systemic transitions (Geels, 2017) and governance of the commons "beyond markets and states" (Ostrom, 2010). As a designer, I have applied speculative processes and co-generative methods to envision alternative futures for space. In this way, I have demonstrated how the so-called "cryptocommons" can represent a novel strategic use of blockchain technologies to rebalance economies towards higher human values, like culture and sustainability. This result has been possible by developing in six months a wide and diversified network of experts throughout Europe.