Article written by 2008 DPDF Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Fellow Seth D. Baum, featured in Space Policy, Volume 25, No. 2:
Humanity faces many important decisions about space exploration. A major but controversial decision-making paradigm is cost–benefit analysis (CBA). This paper discusses some ethical considerations in CBA that are important to decision making about space exploration, including how we define costs and benefits; space exploration’s non-market value; the standing of future humans and of extraterrestrials; and the role of discounting in evaluating long-term space exploration projects.