Outer Space – The Next Empire?

Matjaz and Pippa’s CoDI show ‘Outer Space – The Next Empire?’ is on at 1.50pm, Saturday 5th August at the New Town Theatre (Fringe Venue 7).

Tell us a bit about yourselves

Matjaz Vidmar – research student in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Space Exploration and Industry in Scotland at The University of Edinburgh; science communicator at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and elsewhere; occasional blogger and writer; involved in many “out-there” ideas, including a project proposing a geostationary space station

Pippa Goldschmidt – a “recovering Astronomer” with a PhD from The University of Edinburgh/Royal Observatory Edinburgh; worked on Outer Space policy in the UK Government, including puzzling questions such as “What is Outer Space and where does it start?”; now an acclaimed writer about science in fiction. Winner of 2016 Suffrage Science award (for women in science). Author of novels, short stories, poems and essays.

How does your CoDI show fit in with your research?

The exciting CoDI show we are hatching together fits perfectly with Matjaz’s work in trying to use arts to understand the role and importance of Space Exploration and Industry for society at large and Pippa’s creative work on how science and technology inspires and informs artistic expression.

Why is the topic ‘dangerous’?

The topic dares ask a question about what are we humans doing in and to Outer Space? In the not very distant future, humans will for the first time visit another planet (Mars). Later on we will likely establish some interplanetary outposts.

What does this mean for society down here on Earth? By reaching so far away from our planet, are we taking enough care over the possible harm we might cause to other planetary environment and life, and the possible harm we might do to ourselves?

Are Outer Space resources ours for the taking? Even if they are – who are “we”? Will it be whoever first plants the flag or do we come to a broader agreement on sharing?

How do we make sure we don’t choke our own planet in Space Debris, which is bits of disused space craft and rockets already swarming around the Earth and possibly increasing exponentially in the next few years?

Does it rightly have this label? Is the topic unjustly controversial? 

If Space Debris starts raining down on Earth, as outlined in one of Pippa’s stories, it will get pretty dangerous pretty quickly! And that is only one of the topics we will explore in the show! It may also get very dangerous for Space Dodos (whatever they are)!

The severity of danger is really in the eyes of the beholder, but we think we need to have an inspired and inspiring conversation about the scientific, technological and societal implications of exploration of Outer Space and how it touches upon other aspects of the everyday life of us Earthlings (as well as Martians!).

Describe your show in three words

Serious Space Fun

Why should the unenlightened Fringe-goer attend your show? What will they learn?

They will learn a bit about what we are up to in Outer Space and what possible futures await us.

There will be examples of how Scotland is “reaching for the stars” and how it contributes to more space waste. We will discuss whether humans are ready for space travel and if so, where you should buy your ticket!

We will talk about science, technology, ethics, politics, achievements, beliefs and imagination, mix them all together and throw in a big measure of drama and humour.

We will read some short stories and see if we can disentangle facts about Outer Space from Science Fiction.

To sum up, we will have some serious fun with some serious issues – and all in the name of science!



Get your tickets here!:

The Stand

Ed Fringe