Professor JS Johnson-Schwartz (she/her) (Ph.D, Wayne State University) is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. She is author of The Value of Science in Space Exploration (Oxford University Press, 2020) and editor of Reclaiming Space: Progressive and Multicultural Visions of Space Exploration (Oxford University Press, 2023) and The Ethics of Space Exploration (Springer, 2016).  She actively pursues an interdisciplinary project on the philosophy and ethics of space exploration, which has points of contact with ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of science, science policy and law, and space science.  She also has growing research iterests in the philosophy of disability and neurodiversity.

Professor Schwartz's space exploration research has several objectives:

  • To articulate and defend the intrinsic and instrumental value of the knowledge and understanding we derive from space science.
  • To critically examine the scope of and motivation for planetary protection policies, and more broadly, to contribute to ongoing discussions surrounding the ethics of planetary protection. 
  • To outline a set of normative principles for engaging in ethically permissible human space settlement.
  • To highlight the practical scarcity of space resources (such as near-Earth Asteroid resources) and to focus the space resource conversation more on issues of socioeconomic justice.  
  • To promote the inclusion of disabled persons in spaceflight activities.

Professor Schwartz also has research interests in environmental ethics, philosophy of mathematics, and metaphysics. Her publications have appeared in: Philosophia Mathematica; Environmental Ethics; Ethics & the Environment; Space Policy; Advances in Space Research; Futures; Journal of the British Interplanetary Society; International Journal of Astrobiology; AstropoliticsTheology and Science; and Acta Astronautica. She has also contributed chapters to a number of anthologies, including Institutions of Extraterrestrial Liberty (Oxford University Press, forthcoming); The Human Factor in Settlement of the Moon (Springer, 2021); Astrobiology: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (Wiley, 2021): The Expanse and Philosophy: So Far Out Into The Darkness (Wiley, 2021); Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology (Oxford University Press, 2020); Human Enhancements for Space Missions: Lunar, Martian, and Future Missions to the Outer Planets (Springer, 2020); Yearbook on Space Policy 2015 (Springer, 2017); The Ethics of Space Exploration (Springer, 2016); Dissent, Revolution and Liberty Beyond Earth (Springer, 2016); Human Governance Beyond Earth: Implications for Freedom (Springer, 2015); and The Meaning of Liberty Beyond Earth (Springer 2015).


Areas of Research Interest

Ethics of Space Exploration

Space Settlement

Space Resource Exploitation

Planetary Protection and Environmental Protection in Space

Epistemic Value (the value of Knowledge and Understanding)

Philosophy of Disability


Areas of Teaching Interest

Ethics of Space Exploration

Space Politics

Introductory Logic

Formal Logic

Critical Reasoning

Environmental Ethics

Philosophy of Mathematics


Engineering Ethics

Contemporary Ethics



Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (since 2017):

  • "What Do We Need To Ask Before Settling Space?" Lead author with Sheri Wells-Jensen, John Traphagan, Deana Weibel, and Kelly Smith. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 74 (2021): 140-149.
  • "Where No Planetary Protection Has Gone Before". International Journal of Astrobiology 18 (2019): 353-361. 
  • "Mars: Science Before Settlement." Theology and Science 17 (2019): 324-331.
  • “Space Settlement: What’s the Rush?” Futures 110 (2019): 56-59.
  • "The Great Colonization Debate". With Kelly Smith, Keith Abney, et alFuture 110 (2019): 4-14.
  • "Worldship Ethics: Obligations to the Crew." Journal of the British Interplanetary Society 71 (2018): 53-64.
  • "Myth-Free Space Advocacy Part III: The Myth of Educational Inspiration." Space Policy 42 (2018): 24-32.
  • "Myth-Free Space Advocacy Part II: The Myth of the Space Frontier." Astropolitics 15 (2017): 167-184.
  • "Myth-Free Space Advocacy Part I - The Myth of Innate Exploratory and Migratory Urges." Acta Astronautica 137 (2017): 450-460.

Book Chapters (since 2017):

  • "Appreciating What's Really Beautiful About Space." In Reclaiming Space: Progressive and Multicultural Visions of Space Exploration, edited by James Schwartz, Linda Billings, and Erika Nesvold. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • "Justice in Space: Demanding Political Philosophy for Demanding Environments." In Institutions of Extraterrestrial Liberty, edited by Charles Cockell. Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  • "A Space Settler's Bill of Rights." With Russell Greenall-Sharp, David Kobza, Courtney Houston, Mohammad Allabad, and Jamie Staggs. In Astrobiology: Science, Ethics, and Public Policy, edited by Octavio Chon-Torres, Richard Gordon, Joseph Seckbach, and Ted Peters, pp. 377-388. Wiley, 2021.
  • "Gunnery Sergeant Draper and the Martian Congressional Republic's Vision for Mars." In The Expanse and Philosophy: So Far Out Into The Darkness, edited by Jeffery Nicholas, pp. 151-160. Wiley, 2021.
  • "The Accessible Universe: On the Choice To Require Bodily Modification for Space Exploration." To appear in Human Enhancements for Space Missions: Lunar, Martian, and Future Missions to the Outer Planets, edited by Konrad Szocik, pp. 201-215. Springer, 2020.
  • "Myth-Free Space Advocacy Part IV: The Myth of Public Support for Astrobiology." In Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology, edited by Kelly Smith and Carlos Mariscal, pp. 263-287. Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • "Some Ethical Constraints on Near-Earth Resource Exploitation." Lead author with Tony Milligan. In Yearbook on Space Policy 2015, edited by C. Al-Ekabi, C. Baranes, P. Hulsroj, and A. Lachen, pp. 227-239. Springer, 2017.

For a more complete collection of Dr. Schwartz's publications, please visit either my Academia.edu profile or my ResearchGate.net profile.


P.I., "Expanding Access to Space: Philosophy of Disability and the Ethics of Space Exploration", Wichita State University Award for Research/Creative Projects, Summer 2022.

P.I., "Celebrating the Scientific Legacy of NASA and Apollo: Symposium and Student Competitions", NASA Kansas Space Grant Consortium, 2019.