Beyond the biosphere: tourism, outer space, and sustainability
Samuel Spector, Department of Tourism, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
James E.S. Higham, Norwegian School of Hotel Management, University of Stavanger, Norway
Adam Doering, Center for Tourism Research, Wakayama University, Wakayama, Japan
Tourism Recreation Research, 02/14/2017, pp.1-11
Dominant sustainability discourses commonly situate Earth as the singular realm of human influence and position modern mobility as one of the primary means through which we are destroying the biosphere. The commercialisation of activities in outer space and the development of space tourism have resulted in drastically reduced launch costs, enabling an increased human presence beyond the biosphere. This paper argues that current debates concerning the relationship between tourism mobilities and sustainability are marked by increasingly untenable assumptions concerning the spatial and temporal parameters of human influence. We critique those assumptions by introducing the concept of a sustainable trajectory to examine the relationship between modern mobility and sustainability, a relationship that is being redefined by the rapidly advancing fields of commercial spaceflight and space tourism. Greater attention to space tourism and commercial spaceflights is required in order to develop a coherent, long-term conceptualisation of the implications of modern mobility for sustainability.
Spaceflight, commercial spaceflight, space tourism, tourism mobility, sustainability