Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the Future
By Alice Gorman
(The MIT Press)
Popularly known as Dr. Space Junk, Australian scientist Alice Gorman has made an unlikely career out of space archaeology. And in this wide-ranging book, she offers a detailed history of space exploration alongside informed reflections on the way humans have made space meaningful. While technical passages sometimes cause the book to drag, scattered among these more academic sections are unexpected moments of whimsy and wit, including a feminist interpretation of Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch of a Tesla; a recipe for a Sputnik cocktail; myriad artistic, literary, and pop-cultural references; and even a quote from Anne Hathaway’s character in Interstellar.
Writing in a tone that alternates between dry, wry, poetic, and strident, Gorman makes a compelling case for the creation of a cultural heritage management strategy for space junk—of which there is a lot, including more than 1,000 dead satellites. From moon dust to moon shadows, cable ties to contested territories, Gorman offers readers a tour through the stars unlike any that have come before. As she puts it: “There are so many ways of connecting to space, and the stories we tell about space make a difference.” 3/5
By Erica Wetter
This review initially appeared in the Spring 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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