Video: DDO Mars Madness: Decolonizing Mars Exploration: An Indigenous Perspective from Dr. Hilding Neilson

Decolonizing Mars Exploration

Going to Mars has been the dream since the 1950s. Now, it's romanticized as the next "frontier" of space exploration. But Mi’kmaw astronomer, Dr. Hilding Neilson, challenges us to reframe and decolonize how we think about our relationship with space and Mars. This presentation was recorded as part of the David Dunlap Observatory Mars Madness online event held on October 11 and 12th, 2020 and produced by RASC, Toronto Centre.

Neilson is an interdisciplinary scientist, working on astrophysics and on the intersection of science, astronomy and Indigenous knowledge. As a Mi’kmaw person, he strives to embrace and integrate Indigenous knowledges and methodologies to better understand the physics of stars and the Universe and our place in it. More specifically, he probes the physics of stars, from the nuclear-burning core out to the circumstellar medium where stellar winds interact with the interstellar medium to understand connections between stars and planets; stars and cosmology; and stars and us. Neilson exploits theoretical and numerical tools to compare with observational data sets to reveal the hidden physics of stars. He also excels at and enjoys teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level as well as participating in public outreach and science communication.