The place of humans

  • Jacques Arnould
Part of the Studies in Space Policy book series (STUDSPACE, volume 6)


In 1610, having received from Galileo a copy of Starry Messenger, Johannes Kepler gave his response in his Conversation with the Starry Messenger: “There will certainly be no lack of human pioneers when we have mastered the art of flight. Who would have guessed that navigation across the vast ocean is less dangerous and quieter than in the narrow, threatening gulfs of the Adriatic, or the Baltic, or the British straits? Let us create vessels and sails appropriate for the heavenly ether, and there will be plenty of people unafraid of the empty wastes. In the meantime, we shall prepare, for the brave sky-travellers, maps of the celestial bodies — I shall do it for the Moon and you, Galileo, for Jupiter”.75 At the start of the 17th century, following in the footsteps of Copernicus and Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Kepler and Tycho Brahe were not content therefore with smashing the invisible spheres on which their predecessors had comfortably installed stars and planets. Not only did they expel Earth from the centre of the cosmos to set it in motion and launch it into a universe that would otherwise become, if not infinite, at least unlimited, but they had also already imagined that human beings could be set in motion too and would one day leave this planet. Four centuries later, Konstantin Tsiolkowsky outlined the basics of space navigation and astronautics.


Moral Judgement Celestial Body Space Adventure Space Humanism Space Navigation 
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  1. 75.
    Quoted in Koestler, Arthur. The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe. London: Pelican, 1968: 378.Google Scholar
  2. 76.
    Virilio, Paul. L’Espace critique. Paris: Christian Bourgois, 1993: 15, 37.Google Scholar
  3. 77.
    Quoted in Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Husserl at the Limits of Phenomenology. Evanston (Il.): Northwestern University Press, 2002: 118.Google Scholar
  4. 78.
    Ibid. 122.Google Scholar
  5. 79.
    Ibid. 126.Google Scholar
  6. 80.
    Quoted in Arnould, Jacques. La seconde chance d’Icare. 216.Google Scholar
  7. 81.
  8. 82.
    Dubos, René. Man Adapting. New Haven-London: Yale University Press, 1980: 279.Google Scholar
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    Jonas, Hans. The Imperative of Responsibility. In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1984: 11.Google Scholar
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    Rawls, John. A Theory of Justice. Cambridge (Massachussets): Belknap Press, 1971.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Arnould
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre National d’Etudes SpatialesParisFrance

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