Frontiers of Space Risk: Natural Cosmic Hazards & Societal Challenges, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Frontiers of Space Risk

Natural Cosmic Hazards & Societal Challenges, 1st Edition

Edited by Richard J. Wilman, Christopher J. Newman

CRC Press

285 pages | 18 Color Illus. | 10 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-06-15
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This book brings together diverse new perspectives on current and emerging themes in space risk, covering both the threats to Earth-based activities arising from space events (natural and man-made), and those inherent in space activity itself. Drawing on the latest research, the opening chapters explore the dangers from asteroids and comets; the impact of space weather on critical technological infrastructure on the ground and in space; and the more uncertain threats posed by rare hazards further afield in the Milky Way.

Contributors from a wide range of disciplines explore the nature of these risks and the appropriate engineering, financial, legal, and policy solutions to mitigate them. The coverage also includes an overview of the space insurance market; engineering and policy perspectives on space debris and the sustainability of the space environment. The discussion then examines the emerging threats from terrorist activity in space, a recognition that space is a domain of war, and the challenges to international cooperation in space governance from the nascent asteroid mining industry.


  • Discusses developments and risks relevant to the public and private sectors as access to the space environment expands
  • Offers an interdisciplinary approach blending science, technology, and policy
  • Presents a high-level international focus, with contributions from academics, policy makers, and commercial space consultants


"Space has been called the final frontier. This assumption has driven science fiction into reality. In fact, the real frontier is the changes we as a society will face as the space frontier is further broached. Frontiers of Space Risk is a collection of essays that examines risks related to space, including both cosmic hazards to the Earth arising from natural causes—meteor and asteroid impacts or impact-caused tsunamis, for example—and man-made ones, such as space debris; included is a discussion of space as a domain for war. Even hypothetical risks are covered, such as the perceived threat arising from the discovery of extraterrestrial life.

Wilman (astrophysics, Durham Univ., UK) and Newman (space law, Northumbria Univ., UK) bring together contributors from multiple disciplines to examine interdisciplinary approaches to mitigating these risks with a fascinating blend of engineering, science, and policy. Through 10 chapters and a manageable 285 pages, this work is replete with intrigue, footnotes, and a useable index. This is a practical addition to current discussions for the beginner, novice, and professional alike.

Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels."

—R. I. Saltz, Independent scholar, in CHOICE, March 2019

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction

Christopher J. Newman and Richard J. Wilman

Chapter 2. Asteroid and Cometary Impact Hazards

Mark Bailey

Chapter 3. Space Weather – the Sun as a Natural Hazard

Mike Hapgood

Chapter 4. Hazards & Habitability: Galactic Perspectives

Richard J. Wilman, Pratika Dayal and Martin J. Ward

Chapter 5. Space Debris: Risk and Mitigation

Camilla Colombo, Francesca Letizia, Mirko Trisolini and Hugh Lewis

Chapter 6. Commercial Space Risks, Spacecraft Insurance and the Fragile Frontier

Mark Williamson

Chapter 7. Space Sustainability

Christopher D. Johnson

Chapter 8. Space Activity and the Nascent Risk of Terrorism

Ben Middleton

Chapter 9. Reconciling the Past, Present and Future of National Security, Military Activity and Space Law

Michael J. Listner

Chapter 10. Managing the Resource Revolution: Space Law in the New Space Age

Thomas Cheney and Christopher J. Newman

About the Editors

Richard J. Wilman is Assistant Professor (Teaching) at Durham University, UK. He obtained a PhD in astrophysics from Cambridge University, followed by research posts in the UK, The Netherlands, and Australia.

Christopher J. Newman is Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University, UK. He has a PhD in cross-comparative constitutional law and has been active in the teaching and research of Space Law for several years.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
SCIENCE / Astrophysics & Space Science
SCIENCE / Physics