Holy texts and salvation ideology. Saints and martyrs. True believers and apostates. This isn’t a religion — this is human spaceflight. So says Roger Launius, NASA’s former Chief Historian, in his 2013 paper Escaping Earth: Human Spaceflight as Religion. For the start of our ninth year of the Space Policy Edition, Dr. Launius joins the show to discuss the ways in which human spaceflight exhibits characteristics commonly seen in modern religions, how his thesis has evolved in the past decade with the rise of Elon Musk and his view of Mars as humanity’s salvation, and how exploring secular activities through a religious lens can be instructive in understanding their adherents and support.

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