Arizona State University challenges experts, authors to imagine space futures

Photo of the inside of a space station with a ship and planet being seen outside of a large window.

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Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination is proud to present Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities, a collection of research-based narratives and nonfiction essays about the near future of human activity in space. The collection was supported by a grant (NNX15AI31G) from NASA, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities features short fiction by top science fiction authors and essays by experts in history, economics, and space science and technology. Contributors worked collaboratively in small teams throughout 2016 and 2017 to craft research-based projections of the future, grounded in historical parallels and real-life science and technology, in four key areas: Low Earth Orbit, Mars, Asteroids, and Exoplanets. The collaborative, technically grounded process draws on the methods of the Center for Science and the Imagination’s award-winning fiction anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (2014).

The narratives and essays in the collection are policy-level future forecasts, exploring a variety of futures in space that involve public and private institutions, as well as groups of citizens and members of the public, in the U.S. and beyond. The collection focuses particularly on the roles that public-private partnerships might play in space.

“This collection imagines how humans will not merely survive but thrive in space. These stories move beyond the ‘how’ of hardware and logistics to ask why we seek to build new communities, and who will get to participate,” says Ed Finn, co-editor of the collection and founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.

Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities features fiction narratives by seven noted science fiction authors: Madeline Ashby, Steven Barnes, Eileen Gunn, Ramez Naam, Carter Scholz, Karl Schroeder, and Vandana Singh. It also includes an interview with renowned science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, author of a number of epic, research-based novels about humans in space, including the Mars Trilogy, 2312, and Aurora.

Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities is free to download in EPUB or MOBI e-book formats at, or at Apple’s iBooks Store. It is also available as a print-on-demand book at, sold at cost for $20.09 (plus shipping and sales tax). The price covers printing costs only.

This project was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant number NNX15AI31G. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.