About the word "Cosmophobia"

The Claim
Image Unavailable
Screenshot of the video making the claim.

Recently a YouTube user has alleged that the term 'Cosmophobia' (or 'Cosmofobia') was invented by him, and that NASA employees should stop using it, or else acknowledge him as the inventor of the term. Unfortunately for him, we can show that this is completely false.

The Claim

In a YouTube video1, the user 'Sangstar1' claims that he invented the term 'Cosmofobia' in April 2012, that NASA employees are using it "as if they are the ones that created this word". He asks that NASA 'show some respect' and either stop using the word, or give him credit as the author.

Apparently this is an important issue 'Sangstar1', as he has published links to this video at least three times in his Facebook page, and it appears he has also taken to Twitter to beg that NASA stop using 'Cosmophobia'. Since 'Sangstar1' has expressed the view in the past that this site (and its predecessor is run by NASA, we can safely assume that he includes this site and its members in the group "NASA employees".

Prior Usage

In order to forestall any claim of copyright or trademark infringement, we will document prior use of the term 'Cosmophobia'.

2009: Cosmophobia as defined by David Morrison

Dr. David Morrison defines 'cosmophobia' as "an unreasoning fear of the cosmos". He relates his experiences of answering questions at the NASA "Ask an Astrobiologist" page, where he is frequently peppered with questions about various doomsday scenarios. Every time there is a popular news item about an asteroid passing close by the earth, or a newly discovered planet, or a black hole in another galaxy, it seems that some people panic, and their first thought is "will it kill us?". Dr. Morrison coined the term in an article published in 2009 at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific website, and in April of 2010 gave a talk at the "Silicon Valley Lecture Series" titled "Doomsday 2012 and the Rise of Cosmophobia"2.

2007: Cosmofobia, A Novel by Lucía Etxebarría

In her 2007 novel, Lucía Etxebarría apparently uses a different sense of the word 'Cosmofobia' (Cosmophobia). From the description of the setting, a multi-cultural neighborhood in Madrid, Spain, we can infer that Ms. Etxebarría means to convey the opposite of the term 'Cosmopolitan'. In other words, a fear of other cultures, or a fear of losing ones own culture, perhaps.

1999: D.J. Quicksilver's Cosmophobia

This is apparently a european EDM3 number by one "D.J. Quicksilver". Here is a YouTube video of him performing the piece.

1977: Astronautyka, no. 1, 1977, p. 21-23. In Polish

This is a reference to a polish language article published in the journal Astronautyka in 1977 dealing with the human conquest of space. Included in the reference is a discussion of the author's dismissal of a "cosmophobic" outlook on space exploration:

1972: The conquest of cosmophobia: The psychopathology of civilization by S.M. Malik

This is a reference to an article published in 1972. This article deals with the 'psychopathology of civilization', so it probably uses a different sense of the word 'Cosmophobia' than Dr. Morrison, perhaps closer to Etexbarria's usage.

1941, Cosmophobia by Millard Verne Gordon

This was a short story published in the April 1941 edition of the magazine Stirring Science Stories4. It was written Donald. A. Wollheim under the pseudonym Millard Verne Gordon.


With about a half-hour of research on the internet, we were able to demonstrate that "sangstar1's" claim to the term 'Cosmophobia' (or 'Cosmofobia') is invalid.

Further Reading

See this video which outlines some of the same, easy-to-find references to the word 'cosmophobia'.

1. Morrison, David. April 2010. "A Scientist Looks at 'Doomsday 2012'",


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License