Home / Events / Sacred Space: Religion and Cosmic Exploration symposium- How will space exploration reshape religion?
NEXT EVENT: Thursday March 23 2023
5 p.m.-6:15 p.m.

Sacred Space: Religion and Cosmic Exploration symposium- How will space exploration reshape religion?

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 will discuss religion and space exploration — two topics that have been intertwined through human history.

Religion and space exploration have always been in conversation. We’re just making that conversation public.

All sessions moderated by Lance Gharavi & Mary-Jane Rubenstein


Session 3

How will space exploration reshape religion?

March 23, 7 p.m.–8:15 p.m. ET 

Many religions are hundreds, even thousands, of years old. But humans have only been going to space since 1961. What impacts has space exploration had on religions, old and new? How might religions change as we start living and working on other worlds? When is the Sabbath on Mars? Where is Mecca if you’re praying on the moon? In this webinar, we talk with Brother Guy Consolmagno and Jeffrey J. Kripal on the ways space exploration has shaped, and might continue to shape, religion as we venture out into the heavens. 


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 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.



Lance Gharavi is professor of Theatre at Arizona State University and Associate Director of ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative. He is the author of Western Esotericism in Russian Silver Age Drama: Aleksandr Blok’s The Rose and the Cross and editor the anthology Religion, Theatre and Performance: Acts of Faith. His work focuses on points of intersection between performance, technology, science and religion. He specializes in leading transdisciplinary teams of artists, scientists, designers and engineers to create compelling experiences and advance research. He led the creation of Port of Mars, a game-based platform for social science experiments and is currently working on a new project about consciousness.

Mary-Jane Rubenstein is the author of Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race (2022), as well as numerous other books on the intersections of science, philosophy and religion. Her book Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse(2014) won the 2022 Iris Award for “outstanding work at the intersection of science, religion and technology.” Rubenstein teaches Religion and Science in Society at Wesleyan University, where she is also affiliated with Philosophy, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

This is the third in a series of four symposia. Get information on all the sessionsThe other topics are:
How has religion influenced space exploration?- March 2
How do our religious traditions teach us to conduct ourselves in space?- March 16
What is the cosmic future of humanity?- April 6
For more information please contact:
Lance Gharavi
Interplanetary Initiative