This article traces parallels between James Cook’s 1768 Endeavour voyage to measure the transit of Venus and current initiatives searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). While separated by vast time and space, both are united in their appeal to celestial frontier science in the service of all humanity, and contain discrepancies between their ethical protocols and probable outcomes. Past, present, and future colonial projects are interwoven by drawing on Dipesh Chakrabarty’s “time-knot,” Star Trek’s “prime directive,” and firsthand experience in SETI’s Indigenous studies working group. This analysis cautions against the current trend toward unabated interstellar imperialism and suggests alternative approaches for engaging outer spaces and beings through celestial wayfinding.

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