On the 23rd January Joshua Nall, the Curator of Modern Sciences, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, University of Cambridge, will be visiting to give a seminar and answer questions on his work. Please fill out the form below to register attendance and allow sufficient catering.
Location: IAS seminar room and reception
12:00 - 13:00 - Seminar
13:00 - 14:00 - Lunch/Discussion
Escape to Mars: Capitalist fantasies of planetary habitation, c. 1900 / c. 2017
Mars, we are told, will soon be inhabited. Space entrepreneurs and so-called tech-visionaries have declared it so. These manifestos for an off-earth future explicitly eschew the politics of climate change in favour of a ‘pure’ technological solution to planetary demise. In this talk I will argue that this form of capitalist delusion has a longer history than we might expect. Planetary decay and the allure of Mars have been implicated in the fantasies of industrialists for at least 120 years. Recovering this long history, I want to suggest, helps us better understand the pernicious blend of ecological determinism and techno-triumphalism at the heart of these fantasies, then and now.