home Communication, Culture Alice Gorman, aka @DrSpaceJunk

Alice Gorman, aka @DrSpaceJunk

Book covers

My fave book of 2019: Dr Space Junk vs the Universe is now available around the globe in print and audio book formats. In any format, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in

the space age – past, present, and future

Author and Professor Alice Gorman, aka @DrSpaceJunk, has been a long-time favorite voice on Twitter.

Alice’s thoughtful and candid tweets expand upward and outward from Australia. I’ve hearted her 140 and 280-character takes on Adelaide public transportation, academia, satellite dishes, and space junk. Now I get to heart and favorite and 5-star review and like and love this book.

Born in early 60s, we grew in the same generation and saw the Apollo landings, albeit in far different circumstances and across the globe. To read about the early space flight era in Australia illuminates a chapter in recent history. What is our role in the universe?

This review will continue to be edited …


From New South Books:
Going boldly forth as a pioneer in the fledgling field of space archaeology, Dr Alice Gorman (aka Dr Space Junk) turns the common perception of archaeology as an exploration of the ancient on its head. Her captivating inquiry into the most modern and daring of technologies spanning some 60 years — a mere speck in cosmic terms — takes the reader on a journey which captures the relics of space forays and uncovers the cultural value of detritus all too readily dismissed as junk.

In this book, she takes a physical journey through the solar system and beyond, and a conceptual journey into human interactions with space. Her tools are artifacts, historical explorations, the occasional cocktail recipe, and the archaeologist’s eye applied not only to the past, but the present and future as well.

Erudite and playful, Dr Space Junk reveals that space is not as empty as we might think. And that by looking up and studying space artifacts, we learn an awful lot about our own culture on earth. She helps us understand that objects from the past — the material culture produced by the Space Age and beyond — are so significant to us now because they remind us of what we might want to hold onto into the future.

Key Links

The Conversation


  • Is there an audio version of the book?

Recommended Listening
Archaeology and the Future – The Drawing Room
The truth about space junk – Conversations
What is the cultural significance of the moon landing 50 years on?

Embedded Tweets

Earlier Features
Stone Age to Space Age in 1960s and 70s American sitcoms
How to avoid sexist language in space – Dr Space Junk wields the red pen.

Publication date: April (Australia, New South Books) and October (USA, MIT Press).

Audio book voiced by @Cat_Gould

Recent presentation
Washington, DC – Wednesday, October 23, 2019 7-8pm, Politics and Prose: An archeologist, Gorman has taken the field where it has never gone before: space. Exploring the connection between humans and the larger cosmic context, Gorman investigates both the dust, craters, and fallen shards of things like Skylab that space has left on Earth, as well as the artifacts we’ve put into space. Often referred to as “space junk,” these objects range from obsolete satellites and discarded tools to the flag planted on the moon and messages broadcast to extraterrestrials. As Gorman shows, each specimen embodies its historical moment, raises tantalizing questions, and tells stories about our dreams and hopes.


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