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Social Relations, Space Travel, and the Body of the Astronaut

Peter Dickens (University of Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Space Tourism

ISBN: 978-1-78973-496-6, eISBN: 978-1-78973-495-9

Publication date: 6 September 2019


Space tourism is often represented as an extended version of tourism on the Earth, with tourists experiencing relaxed and trouble-free experiences. But parallels between travel on the Earth and in outer space are misleading. The latter raises major issues concerning power-relations between passengers, pilots, and ground control. Who has the power in space tourism and how is this power exercised? The literature underestimates potential dangers to the human body. These include short- and long-term risks stemming from microgravity, exposure to radiation, and rapidly changing switches between day and night. These problems further undermine the popular image of space tourism as a wholesome and joyous practice. Space tourism may well be a very expensive way of achieving ill health.



Acknowledgments – This is an extended version of an article that first appeared in Monthly Review in March of 2017 (Volume 68, Issue 10). The author thanks Monthly Review for giving permission to reprint some of the material in this periodical. He also thanks James Ormrod and the editors of this volume for their patience and assistance.


Dickens, P. (2019), "Social Relations, Space Travel, and the Body of the Astronaut", Space Tourism (Tourism Social Science Series, Vol. 25), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 203-222.



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