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Sacred Space: Religion & Cosmic Exploration
What does religion have to do with space exploration?
Quite a lot, actually. In fact, the histories, ideologies, representations and practices of religion are central to the project of imagining and building human space futures. As we venture into space, we will bring religion and religious ideas with us, knowingly or not.
Sacred Space: Religion and Cosmic Exploration is a series of public talks where diverse guests from the space sector and from religious traditions discuss religion and space exploration.
Religion and space exploration have always been in conversation. We’re just making that conversation public.

Find out more here: http://bit.ly/3xyoGWG

Session 1
How has religion influenced space exploration?
March 2, 7:00 - 8:15 pm ET

Roger D. Launius
Victoria Smolkin

Session 2
How do our religious traditions teach us to conduct ourselves in space?
March 16, 7:00 - 8:30 pm ET

Zahra Ayubi
Daniel Capper
Ingrid LaFleur
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
Deondre Smiles

Session 3
How will space exploration reshape religion?
March 23, 7:00 - 8:15 pm ET

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ
Jeffrey J. Kripal

Session 4
What is the cosmic future of humanity?
April 6, 7:00 - 8:15 pm ET

Paul Davies
Catherine Keller
You can choose to attend one or more of the following webinars.

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Zahra Ayubi
Associate Professor of Religion @Dartmouth College
Zahra Ayubi is an associate professor of religion at Dartmouth College. She specializes in women and gender in premodern and contemporary Islamic philosophical ethics and has published on gendered concepts of ethics, justice, and religious authority, and on Muslim feminist thought and American Muslim women's experiences. She is the author of Gendered Morality: Classical Islamic Ethics of the Self, Family, and Society (Columbia, 2019) and Women as Humans: Life, Death, and Gendered Being in Islamic Medical Ethics (Columbia, Forthcoming). Her current book project is on feminist approaches to philosophy of Islam.
Daniel Capper
Professor @University of Southern Mississippi
Daniel Capper is a Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi and Adjunct Professor at Metropolitan State University in Denver. Trained at the University of Chicago in the field of science and religion dialogue, his interdisciplinary studies explore environmental ethical interactions with the nonhuman natural world comparatively as well as among American Buddhists. Capper’s many publications include the books Learning Love from a Tiger: Religious Experiences with Nature, Roaming Free like a Deer: Buddhism and the Natural World, and Buddhist Ecological Protection of Space: A Guide for Sustainable Off-Earth Travel. Currently he is working on a book regarding comparative religious reactions to the possibility of finding microbial life in the solar system.
Ingrid LaFleur
Afrofuturist strategist
Ingrid LaFleur is an afrofuture strategist, artist, curator, and pleasure activist focused on creating equitable futures using art, culture and emerging technology. LaFleur is attending the University of Houston for a MS in Foresight. Her futures research looks at ways to integrate the principles of Afrofuturism into the methodologies of Foresight. As a 2023 visiting fellow at the Modern Ancient Brown Foundation, she will be continuing this research through her new project The Imaginarium which will be initially activated in Detroit, MI. In the Imaginarium, she experiments with classroom design and future visioning practices to better assist with conjuring decolonized and just futures.
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
Scholar in Residence @National Council of Jewish Women
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is an award-winning author and writer who serves as Scholar in Residence at the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). She was named by Newsweek as a “rabbi to watch,” as a “faith leader to watch” by the Center for American Progress, has been a Washington Post Sunday crossword clue (83 Down). She has written eight books; her latest, On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World, has won a National Jewish Book Award and was hailed by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley as “A must read for anyone navigating the work of justice and healing.”
Deondre Smiles
Assistant Professor @University of Victoria
Deondre Smiles (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria (B.C., Canada). He does work in several areas, including critical Indigenous geographies, human-environment interactions, Indigenous cultural resource management/preservation, and science/technology studies. Deondre is the principal investigator of the Geographic Indigenous Futures Collaboratory, one of Western Canada’s first Indigenous geographies focused research groups and lab collectives.
Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ
Director @Vatican Observatory
Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, is a Jesuit brother, Director of the Vatican Observatory and the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation whose research studies meteorites and asteroids. He is a native of Detroit, Michigan, received SB and SM degrees from MIT, and earned his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona in 1978. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of several popular books on astronomy and the relationship between faith and science. In 2014 he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.
Jeffrey J. Kripal
J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought @Rice University
Jeffrey J. Kripal is the Associate Dean of the Faculty and Graduate Programs in the School of the Humanities and the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University. Jeff is the author of many books, including The Superhumanities: Historical Precedents, Moral Objections, New Realities (Chicago, 2022), where he intuits an emerging order of knowledge that can engage in robust moral criticism but also affirm the superhuman or nonhuman dimensions of our histories and futures. He is presently working on a three-volume study of paranormal currents in the sciences, modern esoteric literature, and science fiction collectively entitled The Super Story: Science (Fiction) and Some Emergent Mythologies.
Walter Kim
President @National Association of Evangelicals
Walter Kim became the president of the National Association of Evangelicals in January 2020. He previously served as a pastor at Boston’s historic Park Street Church and at churches in Vancouver, Canada and Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as a campus chaplain at Yale University. He preaches, writes and engages in collaborative leadership to connect the Bible to the intellectual and cultural issues of the day. He regularly teaches in conferences and classrooms; addresses faith concerns with elected officials and public institutions; and provides theological and cultural commentary to leading news outlets. He serves on the boards of Christianity Today and World Relief and consults with a wide range of organizations. Kim received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, his M.Div. from Regent College in Vancouver, and his B.A. from Northwestern University.