Space Tourism: Volume 25

Cover of Space Tourism

The Elusive Dream

Subject:

Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-vi
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Part I Histories

Abstract

In the 1950s, a combination of technological and scientific advancement, political competition, and changes in popular opinion about spaceflight generated public policy in favor of an aggressive space program. This and that of 1960s moved forward with a Moon landing and the necessary budgets. Space exploration reached equilibrium in the 1970s, sustained through to the present. The twenty-first-century progresses signals that support for human space exploration is waning and may even begin declining in the coming years. This chapter reviews this history and analyzes five rationales suggested in support of continued human spaceflight: discovery and understanding, national defense, economic competitiveness, human destiny, and geopolitics.

Abstract

This chapter examines the historical development of space tourism from early wondering at the heavens to more recent extraterrestrial astrotourism. It catalogs the development of the significant terrestrial space tourism market, including dark-sky tourism, launch tours, zero-G flights, and edutainment experiences, as part of a “steps to space” for costlier future developments in space tourism. Recent developments in the suborbital sector initiated by the XPRIZE and spearheaded by Virgin Galactic are the next stage in this product ladder. All these draw on a rich history of space exploration – imagined, virtual, and real – that frames how future developments in space tourism can be viewed.

Part II Imaginaries

Abstract

Three myths of life on other celestial bodies are examined as potential motivators for space tourism. The historical myth of extraterrestrial planetary life was debunked by modern astronomy. The twentieth-century myth-like belief in the existence of stellar civilizations or extraterrestrial intelligence has engendered an extensive search for transmitted signals from such civilizations, but none have yet been detected. The post-modern myth of aliens visiting the Earth by unidentified flying objects, engendered new religious movements; however, it is silent about the aliens’ stellar origins, while the new religions do not encourage adherents to visit the aliens’ abodes. In the final analysis, none of the three myths offers an incentive for space travel and tourism.

Abstract

Contemporary cinema and video games express considerable skepticism toward the colonization of further planets. Contemporary films including Elysium and Passengers depict space travel as the prolongation of inequalities within human civilization, while others such as Gravity and The Martian predict a rebirth of the human species through technological advances and space travel limited to a lucky few. Games, meanwhile, explore topics ranging from private spaceflight to the genetic modification required for long-term space habitation, especially in EVE Online, which we focus on in this chapter. Although both contemporary films and games celebrate technological advances, these media also show that multiple inequalities lurk behind the celebratory human renewal into a multiplanetary species.

Abstract

Virtual reality technologies have given rise to a new breed of space travel, enabling touring of cosmic environments without leaving the Earth. These tours democratize participation in space tourism and expand its itineraries – reproducing while also altering the practices of tourism itself. The chapter explores the ways in which they alter modes of establishing “authentic” tourism destinations and experiences, rendering outer space into a stage for the performance of space travel, while themselves facilitating novel avenues for its social organization and technological assertion. Virtual space tourism not only reflects the progression and metamorphoses in tourist practice and production but also has the potential to influence both the aspirations and prospects of our space futures.

Part III Advances

Abstract

While there have been several quantitative studies about potential motivations for space tourism, there is a lack of qualitative research which explores these motivations in greater scope and depth. This chapter, based on the data gathered from face-to-face, telephone, and online interviews of potential space tourists, identifies nine likely motivations for space tourism, with hedonic examples such as thrill-seeking or risk-taking; eudaimonic examples such as challenge, curiosity, spirituality, and nostalgia; and extrinsic cases such as seeking distinction or a desire to motivate and assist others. Suggestions are made for marketing future space tourism experiences, as well as recommendations for succeeding research.

Abstract

This chapter provides a status update as of 2018 on space tourism offerings either currently available or actively in the development process. The aim is to perform an evaluation of how the offerings respond to the aspirations described in the earlier chapters and also to provide a basis for the discussion on implications of space tourism described in subsequent chapters. In addition to analyzing suborbital, orbital, and lunar developments, the chapter discusses the state of the infrastructure supporting space tourism advances. This provides a perhaps subdued reality when compared with the heady initial hopes.

Abstract

Space tourism has to be regulated as a subset of private spaceflight activities, whereby humans are sent to outer space in a fundamentally private context. In addition to space law, air law would be relevant for addressing private spaceflight, but neither regime has at the international level regulated relevant activities to any appreciable extent. They provide little more than a set of guiding overarching principles. Much of the onus of future regulation will fall on the shoulders of individual states, most notably the United States. In the more distant future, this may result in a special international regime, using elements of both space and air law.

Part IV Implications

Abstract

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.

Abstract

Space tourism is a rapidly growing sector of capital accumulation. As virtually all space on the Earth has been humanized and populated, outer space is being made by elite groups into the new exotic destination of choice. But the humanization of outer space also reinforces an ancient and powerful worldview concerning society’s relations with the cosmos. It relies on the idea that outer space is an apparently pure and serene “other” place offering a profound sense of awe, wonder, and renewed identity. This hegemonic view of the cosmos and society is a product of a new dominant social bloc, one incorporating pro-space activists, the aerospace industry, the tourism industry, and governments.

Abstract

Conceptualizations of sustainability and the Anthropocene are expressed in static terms, with the Earth’s biosphere viewed as imposing immutable limits. Yet, increased access to outer space, with tourism as an important facilitator, challenges past limitations. This chapter examines the implications of advances in space tourism for the concepts of sustainability and the Anthropocene. The former is complicated by access to outer space, which may bring about a raft of calamities but also potentially immense resources and even the possibility of ensuring our species’ long-term survival by settling the cosmos. This chapter also analyzes problems incurred by the Anthropocene’s emphasis on terrestrial geology in an era of increasing ability to leave the Earth.

Index

Pages 323-330
Content available
Cover of Space Tourism
DOI
10.1108/S1571-5043201925
Publication date
2019-09-06
Book series
Tourism Social Science Series
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78973-496-6
eISBN
978-1-78973-495-9
Book series ISSN
1571-5043