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Sustainability and Tourism in Outer Space

Call for Papers

Abstract Deadline: 30 September 2019

Guest Editors

Sam Spector, University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Journal of Sustainable Tourism publishes theoretical, conceptual and empirical research that explores one or more of the economic, social, cultural, political, organisational or environmental aspects of the subject.

Language: en-US

Publisher: tandf

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This special issue will explore the complex relationship between sustainability and touristic spaceflight.

The development of outer space is advancing rapidly. Many of the private companies leading this development are also involved in offering space tourism. Likewise, government entities, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Russian Space Agency, have demonstrated interest in touristic spaceflight. Space tourism provides impetus for developing economical, frequent, and safe launch capabilities. It is thus intertwined with the broader effort to explore, mine, and even settle the cosmos.

The increased involvement of individuals, companies, and governments in space travel and tourism is concomitant with significant and largely unprobed implications for sustainability both on and beyond Earth. Examples of such implications include the build-up of debris in space, the significant carbon emissions associated with spaceflight, the possibility of impacting other celestial bodies, unequal access to space-based resources, and the increasing militarisation of outer space.

This special issue will feature both empirical and conceptual papers, and submissions are welcome from academics and practitioners. The special issue will constitute a comprehensive and current reference for what appears likely to become one of the most significant sustainability-related developments of the 21st century.

Themes for consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Climate change and space tourism
  • Space tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Space tourism and the build-up of debris in outer space
  • Impacts exerted on other celestial bodies and the protection of space heritage sites
  • The space tourism industry’s approach to environmental sustainability
  • The economic sustainability of space tourism
  • Sociology-based critiques of space tourism
  • Feminist/ecofeminist critiques of space tourism
  • Geo-political issues related to the sustainable development of space tourism
  • Legal and regulatory oversight of space tourism’s impacts
  • Ethics of space tourism
  • The relationship between anthropocentricism/speciesism and space tourism
  • The influence of environmental concerns on the uptake of space tourism
  • Sustainability-related issues in the context of terrestrial space tourism (e.g. touring launch facilities or travelling to witness rocket launches)
  • The relationship between space tourism and the ‘survival imperative’
  • Potential benefits of space tourism and, by extension, space development for sustainability
  • Social relations between space tourists, professional astronauts, and mission controllers

Submission guidelines

Expressions of interest in contributing a paper to this special issue are invited in the form of a 300-400 word abstract. The abstract should include a working title, authorship, author affiliation(s), contact information (including the email addresses of all authors), and 5-6 keywords.

E-mail abstracts to: samuel.spector@gmail.com

  • Abstract due: 30 September 2019 (earlier submission is encouraged).
  • Authors notified of the outcome: 31 October
  • Full paper submission due: 1 October 2020(earlier submission is encouraged).
  • The special issue is scheduled to be published in the second half of 2021. Accepted papers will be published online earlier, in advance of the publication date for the printed special issue.

The lengthy time-frame between abstract acceptance and full paper submission is intended to encourage additional scholars to consider conducting investigations of the burgeoning space tourism industry while also allowing time for the submission of well-developed manuscripts from those already engaged in this field of research.