Ethical considerations for analogue fieldwork in extreme environments

Marino, Alessandra; Franchi, Fulvio; Lebogang, Lesedi; Gomez, Fernando J.; Azua-Bustos, Armando; Cavalazzi, Barbara; Balcha, Ermias; Lynch, Kennda; Bhagwat, Shonil A. and Olsson-Francis, Karen (2023). Ethical considerations for analogue fieldwork in extreme environments. Nature Astronomy, 7(9) pp. 1031–1036.



Recent movements towards decolonizing the university and promoting racial justice and equality in social relations have highlighted and challenged the colonial influences on contemporary science and scientific knowledge production. These colonial legacies have a direct bearing on power relations between the Global North and the Global South, as well as collaborations and partnerships with local scholars and local communities. Astrobiology is one scholarly discipline that often makes use of remote sites in the Global South. Here we examine the ethical implications of carrying out fieldwork that involves accessing and sampling these extreme environments. Experiences of local and international collaborations in these sites have highlighted the importance of co-learning when engaging with diverse communities of scientists and right holders living on and around field sites. We argue that adopting an ethical approach to research in these environments is relevant also to research on other celestial bodies and to the future of space exploration. We propose that understanding space and Earth as interconnected domains, mutually shaped by scientific theories and practices, calls for a new terminology: ‘planetary ethics’, which places attention on this interconnection.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions