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One person's space trash is another's space treasure — and that's definitely true for Alice Gorman, an archaeologist specializing in the detritus of spaceflight.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Space - Book - Experience - Living - Australia
Space.com: Your book is very grounded in your experience living and working in Australia. Can you talk about why that was important for you to highlight?
Gorman: That is where I do my space work and where I started. The first artifacts and places I got interested in were those that I knew were kind of in my back garden. And part of it, too, was I'm interested in decentering the whole space race, Cold War narrative and talking about other kinds of stories and interactions with space in that period. So, it was kind of a combination of what was kind of most natural for me to write about.
Perspectives - Nation - Spacefaring - Ones - History
I also wanted to deliberately choose different perspectives. Coming from a nation that traditionally has not been considered one of the spacefaring ones, even though we do have this incredibly deep history in space … I thought people in other countries would be sympathetic to that as well, because there's been such an increased interest in in the whole space thing in the last five years.
Space.com: One example of that Australian background is when you trace your investigation of the Aboriginal voices on the Golden Records placed on the Voyager spacecraft. Could you talk about that?
Gorman - Space - Archaeologist - Voyagers - Artifacts
Gorman: For a space archaeologist, the two Voyagers are just artifacts of huge interest, because they demonstrate the geographic spread of human culture in the solar system and beyond the solar system, and people are just perennially interested in and obsessed with the Golden Records. When I saw that there was Aboriginal music [on the records], because my background was in heritage consulting with indigenous heritage,...
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