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Oxford XIII / IAU Symposium 399

Indigenous Astronomy in the Space Age

7-11 July 2025 (NAIDOC Week)

University of Melbourne, Australia
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Peter Lieverdink

Astronomy is considered the oldest sciences, with observations of the Sun, Moon, and stars setting the earliest foundations for marking time, forecasting weather, navigating land and sea, predicting seasonal change, and serving as a memory palace for oral traditions that passed knowledge to successive generations over thousands of years. The modern scientific process has roots in history, religion, cultural traditions, and philosophy. As we continue to research, debate, and discuss this fact, we are becoming better equipped to refine our approach to studying the cosmos and understanding our place within it. ISAAC has pioneering this research for more than 40 years.


Current collaborations are bringing together astronomers, Indigenous elders, and social scientists to understand how ancient systems of knowledge can inform research and engagement practices. The modern era is dominated by astronomical discoveries, cutting-edge technologies, and a growing human presence in space. We are well into the Space Age, seeing significant advances in space exploration and plans to build habitats for humans on the Moon, Mars, and beyond, as proposed NASA’s Artemis Project.


These are intoxicating ideas, but a range of social challenges accompany the technological and scientific advancements is required to realise these ambitions. We face a plethora of socio-political challenges in the astro/space sector that must be addressed. How will we accomplish this?


Taking place during NAIDOC Week 2025 (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee), this combined in-person and virtual symposium recognises the critical impact of cultural astronomy on astrophysics and the space sector with regard to addressing pertinent questions about the future of humanity in the Space Age.


  • How can the astronomical and space communities support Indigenous Knowledge, engage collaboratively with First Nations communities, and pave a future for the next generation of Indigenous astronomers?

  • How can we safeguard astronomical knowledge and heritage while establishing roadmaps and guidelines for humanity’s future in space?

  • How are Indigenous astronomies, ground-based observatories, humanity's expansion into space, and the relationships between them juxtaposed in our future vision as we progress through the Space Age?

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This symposium will bring together scholars, elders, scientists, and policy makers together to address pressing issues to guide future synergies between Indigenous knowledges, cutting-edge astrophysics, and our collective future in the Space Age.


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