“…Examining the history of space flight advocacy reveals an ideology of space flight that draws deeply on a durable American cultural narrative – a national mythology – of frontier pioneering, continual progress, manifest destiny, free enterprise, rugged individualism, and a right to life without limits. This ideology rests on a number of assumptions, or beliefs, about the role of the United States in the global community, American national character, and the “right” form of political economy. According to this ideology, the United States is and must remain “Number One” in the world community, playing the role of political, economic, scientific, technological, and moral leader. That is, the U.S. is and must be exceptional. This ideology constructs Americans as independent, pioneering, resourceful, inventive – and exceptional. And it establishes that liberal democracy and free-market capitalism (or capitalist democracy) constitute the only viable form of political economy. The rhetoric of space advocacy exalts those enduring American values of pioneering, progress, enterprise, freedom, and rugged individualism, and it advances the cause of capitalist democracy….”
This is an excerpt from one of my papers titled “Ideology, Advocacy, and Spaceflight – Evolution of a Cultural Narrative.” You’ll find information on all my published papers HERE.
Welcome to lindabillings.org.
I have more than 30 years of experience in the field of communication and 25 years of experience in aerospace (see my biography and c.v. for details). With this experience and a Ph.D. in mass communication, I specialize in research, analysis, and commentary on mass communication, science communication, risk communication, space policy, and the history of rationales for space exploration. I’ve created this site to share the products of my work.
My aim is to contribute new perspectives to the ongoing discourse on issues in space policy and the human future in space. I blog about current events, I offer analyses and opinions, information on media coverage of the space program, and links to reliable sources of information on the topics that are my specialty. I hope that you’ll find something useful here.
I’m monitoring the mass media environment and tracking and analyzing media coverage of space-related issues. I’m also keeping an eye on the changing state of journalism, the evolution of social media, and the movement for media reform. I’m a long-time advocate of greater transparency, openness, and participation in government, and I’m pleased that on his first full day in office President Obama signed an executive order mandating the adoption of these practices across the government.
In the world of aerospace, I advise NASA’s astrobiology, Mars exploration, and planetary protection programs on science and risk communications. I’ve worked on an array of space initiatives ranging from space station utilization to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and closely track space policy discourse.
I’m interested in the controversial research space of “fringe science,” and I’ve explored the cultural phenomena of UFOlogy (the study of unidentified flying objects) and alien abduction, among other things. I’ve authored entries for a forthcoming scholarly encyclopedia of science and technology communication on alien abduction, astrobiology, colonization of other worlds, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
For a taste of my thinking on these and other topics, browse through my papers. Here’s a sample from a paper published in the journal Space Policy (2006), “Exploration for the masses? Or joyrides for the ultrarich? Prospects for space tourism”:
“A space tourism industry appears to be about to take off. Businesses have announced plans to launch people into suborbital space for $200,000/person, with flights beginning as early as 2008. A brief review of the history of the idea of space tourism over the past four decades—and an awareness that many ventures have quietly shelved their grandiose plans—might aid thinking about the prospects for development of a safe and thriving space tourism industry. Today’s space tourism model emphases the concept of luxury, and the lifestyle of hyper-consumption. It may be worth considering whether and how this conception of space tourism might affect the future of space exploration.….”
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