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Geographies of Outer Space

Geographies of Outer Space


Progress in Human 1–23 ª The Author(s) 2017 of : Reprints and permission: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav Progress and new opportunities DOI: 10.1177/0309132517747727 journals.sagepub.com/home/phg

Oliver Dunnett Queen’s University Belfast, UK Andrew S. Maclaren University of Aberdeen, UK Julie Klinger Boston University, USA K. Maria D. Lane University of New Mexico, USA Daniel Sage Loughborough University, UK

Abstract Research into outer space has burgeoned in recent years, through the work of scholars in the social sciences, arts and humanities. Geographers have made a series of useful contributions to this emergent work, but scholarship remains fairly limited in comparison to other disciplinary fields. This forum explains the scholarly roots of these new geographies of outer space, considering why and how geographies of outer space could make further important contributions. The forum invites reflections from political, environmental, historical and cultural geographers to show how human geography can present future avenues to continued scho- larship into outer space.

Keywords culture, environment, geography, history, labour, outer space, politics

I Introduction thereby opened up extra-terrestrial perspectives in contemporary studies of geographical repre- Human geographers have begun to re-engage sentations. A further significant intervention with outer space as an object of their research. Much of this work has drawn inspiration from a landmark paper by Denis Cosgrove (1994), which examined the Corresponding author: Oliver Dunnett, Department of Geography, School of photographs of the earth from space, and their Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University significance in the genealogy of the global Belfast, University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN, UK. imagination in western culture. Cosgrove Email: [email protected] 2 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) was Fraser MacDonald’s (2007) paper in this new studies on outer space in history, sociology journal, which argued that outer space should and anthropology (Geppert, 2012; Dickens and no longer be seen as remote and detached from Ormrod, 2016; Messeri, 2016), there is a com- the everyday geographies of people’s lives, as it pelling need for human geographers to catch up has become instrumental to many modern tech- with this ‘turn to space’ and the diverse influ- nologies and forms of mobility. Such lines of ences outer space has had, and is having, on argument have echoed more recently, with Jason earth and its inhabitants. Beery (2016: 68) suggesting that geographers What form, then, might such new geogra- should ‘reject ...anxieties about engaging with phies of outer space take, and how might we outer space’, and grasp the opportunities therein. theorize engagements that have already started Indeed, outer space matters, and its engage- to emerge? One starting point would be to think ment through critical voices in the humanities through specific geographical terminologies and social sciences has become more important and how they might apply to studies of outer with the increasing presence of outer space tech- space. The most obvious connection, noted by nologies in people’s everyday lives (Johnson, MacDonald (2007), is the term ‘space’ itself, a 2016), the growing diversity of human activity homonym that denotes both the most widely- in outer space, with private companies adopted ‘unit of geography’ and also the cosmic described to be launching ‘a new ’ void between planetary and other cosmic bodies, (Grady, 2017), and the imaginative configura- drawing on notions of absence, vacuity or noth- tions of outer space that continue to shape ingness. Space, however, is too vague a term for human understandings of the universe, influ- the immensity and diversity of the cosmic realm, enced by unprecedented developments in astro- and adopting more specific geographical terms physical science (NASA, 2017). With such as place, surface, environment, volume, tra- geography specifically meaning ‘earth writing’, jectory or landscape could open up the multipli- some may wonder why there is a need for geo- city of meanings behind these varied and distinct graphies of outer space. Yet outer space and extra-terrestrial spaces. This approach also gen- geography have historic connections, from the erates a whole range of outer-space-specific ter- ages of Classical and Medieval cosmography up minologies and nomenclatures as possible until ’s Cosmos objects of study. Thinking through the nuances (1849). We argue that outer space should be of of the ‘spaces of outer space’ through terms such pressing concern within contemporary human as extra-terrestrial or extra-global space, earth- geography given the increasing prominence of orbital space (involving polar, parabolic or outer space within culture and politics, and the geostationary trajectories), interplanetary space, need to fully contextualize this. Human geogra- exo-planetary space, interstellar or celestial phers are well-placed to draw on a breadth of space, the cosmos, or even the heavens, invokes conceptual developments from its range of sub- a variety of scales and understandings to help disciplinary perspectives, including an estab- unpick and focus in on particular objects of study. lished engagement with concepts of scale What these suggestions offer is a specific lexicon (Sheppard and McMaster, 2004), and a post- for geographers to take forward in future research modern cultural turn that has created the possi- to critically interpret these different spaces, think- bility for ‘an extra-terrestrial human geography’ ing beyond the simplistic binary separation of (Cosgrove, 2008: 47). With the rise of planetary ‘outer’ space from ‘terrestrial’ space. geomorphology in (Crad- Geographers’ limited involvement with outer dock, 2012) and interdisciplinary science space has occurred mostly through critical geo- (Mackwell et al., 2013), as well as significant politics, or ‘critical astropolitics’, interrogating Dunnett et al. 3 terrestrial power relations embedded in space- have understood off-world spaces in various flight industries (Warf, 2007; Collis, 2009; national, regional and local contexts. Thinking Beery, 2012), space-promoting organizations through the meaning of earth’s place in the cos- (MacDonald, 2007; Dunnett, 2017), and outer mos raises broader questions regarding the lim- space in popular culture (MacDonald, 2008). its of human influence in the solar system, and The significance of national space programmes the role of humanity in safeguarding environ- (Sage, 2014) or outer space cultures (Dunnett, mental futures in the long term. In the forum 2012) has also shown the entwined nature of contributions that follow, Julie Klinger and outer space with national identities and Maria Lane seek to address these issues by con- -industrial complexes. Recent develop- figuring potential new geographies of nature- ments afford geographers further possibilities culture relations in outer space, through both for study, with newly-industrialized nations contemporary and historical research, looking becoming increasingly involved with space- at examples such as off-earth mining and the flight (Pace, 2015) and new private sector mapping of other planets. engagements with research, development and Part of MacDonald’s (2007) argument in pro- manufacturing disrupting -era con- moting the study of outer space was to draw cepts of nationalism in outer space. With exist- attention to the terrestrial geographies that are ing studies often focusing on the national and connected to the technologies and discourses of global politics of outer space, there has been a outer space. Others have shown how certain comparative lack of research on the localized places on earth, such as the Antarctic continent, political and economic geographies of produc- mountains and deserts, have been seen as tion embedded in the newly-emergent space proxies of extra-terrestrial spaces (Collis, industries. In this forum, Daniel Sage looks to 2016; Lane, 2008; Dittmer, 2007). This work address this shortfall by articulating geometries makes significant progress in understanding of power and dispossession inherent in the geographies of outer space through earthly ana- labour geographies of upcoming space projects logy. There is, however, further scope for stud- that operate in contrast to the utopian visions of ies that investigate the more accessible and ‘NewSpace’ magnates such as . everyday spaces through which people derive Cosgrove’s landmark paper (1994) helped meaning from outer space. In the penultimate establish the significance of space imagery in section of this forum, Oliver Dunnett examines engendering a sense of environmental unity in how landscapes of outer space have been the earth. Subsequent studies have expanded the articulated through popular representations concept of ‘environment’ beyond earthly limits, andexperience,seekingalsotoconfigurethe considering, for example, representations of the moral geographies of outer space in popular planet in the early and late 20th century understandings. Finally, Andrew Maclaren (Lane, 2011; Dittmer, 2007). Researchers have examines the concept of affective nationalism also examined how earth-orbital imagery, rock- in the contemporary context of NASA space etry and planetary visualization have helped to shuttle exhibits in various museum spaces configure a sense of frontier expansionism across the , thinking through how through narratives of discovery and exploration ‘space heritage’ has become a major focus in (Sage, 2014; MacDonald, 2015). Such studies everyday narratives of human engagement have investigated the connections between with outer space. humans and the extra-terrestrial environment, This brief overview has pointed out a signif- but have only made limited progress in compar- icant but underdeveloped corpus of work in the ison to the multitude of ways in which people new geographies of outer space that has 4 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) emerged in the past decade or so. This work has to train globally competitive knowledge work- intervened successfully in areas such as critical ers while creating new ‘off world’ consumers, astropolitics, planetary environmentalism and such as space tourists (Beery, 2012). We might earth-space analogies, in explaining various celebrate this vision like Jeff Bezos, Amazon human understandings of the cosmos. These founder, CEO and space booster, as a ‘huge interventions, and those that follow in the main dynamic entrepreneurial explosion in space’ sections of this forum, seek to take advantage of (quoted in Davenport, 2016) or lament it as a geography’s unique traditions and perspectives pernicious ‘up scaling’ of the over- in understanding the spaces of outer space, and accumulation crises, and social inequalities, of what they mean to people on earth in various terrestrial capitalism (Dickens and Ormrod, social, cultural and economic contexts. In an era 2007; MacDonald, 2007). But either way, the in which human interactions with outer space future of , which, for Bezos are only likely to develop, such perspectives are and other space entrepreneurs, often appears all the more important. as our only future, appears increasingly deter- mined by capital. Oliver Dunnett While space capitalists like Bezos are Queen’s University Belfast, UK undoubtedly gripped by multiple, even conflict- Andrew S. Maclaren ing, visions for space exploration, including University of Aberdeen, UK species survival, colonialism, and libertarian politics, what seems certain is that ‘they cannot II Labour geographies of the space imagine exchange and social relations outside the framework of capitalism and profit; it is the age: Astro-capitalist organizing basis for human sociality in space’ (Valentine, and its alternatives 2012: 1061). However, as Valentine (2012) sug- In 2007 NASA’s now Deputy Chief Historian, gests, critically-minded social scientists should Glen Asner, drew attention to how ‘individuals avoid simply echoing, and thus naturalizing, on the lowest rung of the employment ladder’ this astro-capitalist teleology in their critiques. (Asner, 2007: 393) had, despite their work con- In what follows I propose that one way of open- structing and maintaining launch facilities, pro- ing up astro-capitalism is to challenge the ducing experimental technologies, and ensuring assumption that space workers function as a safety in high-risk conditions, been consistently passive appendage to the organization of marginalized in scholarly histories of space astro-capitals. Far too often the agency of labour exploration. Read against the sub-discipline of in shaping astro-capitalism and other space labour geography (Castree, 2007; Herod, 1997), futures remains invisible, or else, as with Wills’ this inattention to the daily lives and experi- rare study of space labour, is figured as subser- ences of space workers, as opposed to senior vient to ‘powerful forces ...[of] ...capital’ managers and politicians, cannot be regarded (2016: 118). My call here for labour geogra- as insignificant. Rather, it reveals and reinforces phies of the space age focusses upon the poten- a recurrent vision that the significance of space- tial for further examination of how the agency flight is determined by forces of capital, not of space labour (Herod, 1997) is relationally labour (cf. Herod, 1997). As such, space explo- afforded a certain autonomy from capital to ration can be variously understood as: a catalyst cope with, rework, even resist, astro- to drive consumer, manufacturing and manage- capitalism – spanning actualized and potential, rial innovation (Johnson, 2016), a place to terrestrial and extra-terrestrial, geographies. extract resources (Capova, 2016), and a way Such a line of inquiry is vital if we are, as many Dunnett et al. 5 critically minded scholars propose (e.g. Dickens by tricking , as entirely passive to the and Ormrod, 2007; Valentine, 2012), to under- flow of capital into outer space or as part of a stand and resist the foreclosing of the future by false consciousness (Jean is highly critical of the astro-capitalists. To be clear, I am not proposing increasing use of private subcontractors in that capital does not shape uneven economic NASA during the 1990s). If Jean did not ward geographies related to space travel but rather off boredom, or anxiety, this might not only lead that it is not the only, or even sometimes most to a mistake which could endanger a significant, influence. Drawing reference to multimillion-dollar owned by a media workers in and around NASA, I will now sketch corporation (and thus her career), but might out two strands of enquiry into how we might compromise a workplace that fosters the repro- develop such labour geographies. duction of emotionally rewarding self and group First, labour geographers have consistently identities and agencies. The affective encoun- stressed how the agency of labour has repro- ters and atmospheres reported by Jean appear as duced itself at sites of production, helping to an ingredient in both her own and her col- enable the production of uneven capitalist eco- leagues’ self-reproduction and the reproduction nomic geographies (Castree, 2007). In contrast, of astro-capitalism. Similar accounts of the analyses of the relationship between space and affective registers that helped workers cope uneven terrestrial economic geographies have with monotonous and pressurized work in and tended to exclusively focus on its determination around NASA can be found within NASA’s by capital: from the use of satellite tracking to growing oral history collection, popular films optimize the profit margins of multi-national such as Theodore Melfi’s 2016 release, Hidden shipping corporations moving raw materials Figures, as well as scholarly accounts from the Global South to the North, to the avail- (McCurdy, 1993; Faherty, 2002). Labour geo- ability of satellite communication to support the graphers, and other labour scholars, might build high-speed trading of global financial centres on these brief accounts of space labour in the (MacDonald, 2007). workplace with primary research that examines To gain sight of the agencies of labour in the how the uneven economic geographies of astro- production of these uneven geographies, we capitalism are bound up with the circulation of might consider labour at space production facil- labouring affects, identities and agencies. ities, specifically individuals such as Jean Alex- Secondly, labour geographers have long been ander, NASA’s last directly-employed concerned with how groups of workers can for- spacesuit technician at Space Center. mally organize their interests and agendas in the Interviewedin1998aspartofNASA’soral workplace to rework and resist capitalist modes history program, Jean was responsible for pre- of production (Herod, 1997). While labour launch interactions with the crews agency is certainly not pre-determined to during launch and return. The checking proce- rework and resist capital, the workplace remains dures Jean carried out on helmets, pressure suits an important site for geographers to identify and and straps were vital to the success of dozens of understand how labour agency can be collec- commercial, military and scientific satellite tively organized along these lines. To glimpse launches. Strikingly, Jean describes how these the significance of such collective organizing crucial, yet painstakingly exacting, procedures we might consider the were accompanied by light-hearted camarad- (ULA), which employs over 3400 skilled work- erie, fun and practical jokes. It is difficult to read ers at two sites in Alabama and Texas, in addi- Jean’s recollections of how she and her col- tion to thousands more employees across its leagues relieved boredom, stress and tension global supply chain. ULA’s production site in 6 Progress in Human Geography XX(X)

Decatur, Alabama, alone employs 850 people. without rest or meal breaks’ (Lodge 44, 2016). ULA is a joint venture formed from the long- Such concerns are supported by comments established, and rival, space divisions of Lock- made by a current SpaceX engineer explaining heed Martin and , which have since 2006 how: ‘If you believe that a task should take a had a 100 per cent success rate in launching year then Elon wants it done in a week. ...Of unmanned Atlas and Delta rockets for NASA, course reality kicks in and either junk product the Department of Defence and commercial gets flown or something terrible happens’ customers. (Anon, 2016). The majority of ULA staff at Decatur and The critique of SpaceX articulated by Lodge elsewhere are represented by the International 44 revolves around a vision of space exploration Association of Machinists and Aerospace that is explicitly at odds with the form of astro- Workers Local Lodge 44. While Lodge 44 has capitalism effected by space entrepreneurs such struggled in recent years to mobilize its mem- as Bezos and Musk. Lodge 44 argue that the bers to strike to oppose a professed degradation extreme complexities and risks inherent to of pay and conditions at ULA (purportedly due space exploration can only be translated into to resistance from members at ULA launch sites opportunities, to whatever end, if the agencies outside Decatur that are less affected by recent and interests of labour are protected by what contract changes), it has become increasingly reads like a well-balanced, and monopolistic, critical of one strand of astro-capitalism. Spe- military-industrial-union complex. Put simply, cifically, Lodge 44 has sought to challenge the entrepreneurial work intensification and precar- rise of SpaceX, a commercial space launch ity is not an effective way to realize . company of 5000 largely non-unionized Intriguingly, this labour-orientated, if techno- employees owned and run by PayPal owner cratically astro-capitalist, vision of spaceflight Elon Musk. appears complicated by a recent security Since its formation in 2002, SpaceX has demand to ULA by the US government that it sought to compete with ULA on price terms – replace the Russian built RD180 engines used in the cost of a SpaceX satellite launch is its rocket with a US design – the agreed $60 million versus the lowest ULA launch cost supplier of the new engine is , a of $164 million (Grush, 2016). Musk’s utopian company owned by Jeff Bezos. Lodge 44 has, vision for SpaceX centres around a drive to thus far, remained quiet on their efforts to assure ‘make space flight accessible to almost anyone’ that Blue Origin and Bezos are aligned with (quoted in CBS News, 2016). However, since their espoused vision of space travel. 2010, Falcon 9 has experienced two full launch The two examples of labour geographies that failures. After the Falcon 9 launch failure on 1 I have discussed here provide a necessarily lim- September 2016, Lodge 44 argued, via its publicly- ited illustration of the significance of labour accessible Facebook site, that SpaceX had over- agencies to both enable, rework, and even resist, worked its employees to produce cheaper, yet astro-capitalist ways of organizing space travel. dangerous, rocket technologies. Lodge 44’s list Astro-capitalism remains one of the most of criticisms against SpaceX included ‘several potent, and potentially pernicious, conduits in lawsuits filed against them from employees that which totalizing futures of uneven economic claim to have had to work off the clock to stay geographies, including labour geographies, are employed, unfair terminations, ignoring the Cal worked upon, and closed, in advance of their WARN Act [a piece of California legislation realization. As a minimum, the development protecting workers from mass layoffs], and of labour geographies of the space age can pre- working their employees 60–80 hours per week vent these teleologies from appearing as Dunnett et al. 7 pre-determined by structural forces of capital. beyond earth (Messeri, 2016). With our dis- More progressively, research can help us under- courses, property right regimes and material stand how outer space, as a societal-level future practices, we are transforming outer space into imaginary, can be harnessed, as with Lodge 44, a contested terrain in which peace, violence, to rework and resist future work precarity and enclosure, and accumulation are all possible. intensification. In either case, what is distinc- This commentary briefly presents some of these tive, and salient, about such labour geographies key discourses and practices, and makes the case is how they can shed light on the ways in which for an environmental geography of outer space. future agential capacities, not just current abil- ities, of labour are being shaped far beyond the 1 Discourses and imaginaries itself. To this end, it is also important to stress that while my arguments Although human imaginings of off-earth envir- here have developed around a labour geography ons have a long and storied history (e.g. Lane, of singular, formal workplaces and largely 2011), key contemporary discourses wield an class-based interests, labour geographers could unprecedented political potency. These typically also undertake analyses that consider global pro- include one or more of the following elements: duction networks, as well as sites of informal 1. Humans (of which there are too many) work, care and consumption, and intersectional- have polluted the earth beyond repair ities with class and race, gender, nationality, dis- (e.g. Pelton, 2016); ability, sexuality and religion (e.g. Sage, 2014; 2. Intensifying resource scarcity is making Valentine, 2012). At its core my proposal for the life unlivable on this planet and is con- development of labour geographies of the space demning us to perpetual war (e.g. West- age stems from a simple recognition that, cur- ing, 2013); rently at least, the realization of spaceflight is 3. The solutions lie in colonizing outer space, impossible without a diverse human labour. By because the infinite expanse of the cosmos developing geographies of the experiences, holds an infinite quantity of resources and desires and voices of this labour we can start to possibilities, which are free for exploitation understand more precisely the diversity of lives by the brightest and boldest of the human and socialites that are being brought into being, race (e.g. Dolman, 2016). or not, under the promises of the space age. In the majority of these discourses, near-term Daniel Sage earthly apocalypse and/or human extinction is Loughborough University, UK inevitable. This seemingly peculiar blend of eschatology and cornucopianism is not unique III Environmental geography and to space . It has been a familiar trope in the imperialist adventures driving global envi- outer space: Pollution and natural ronmental change over the past five hundred resources years (Richards, 2003). The colonial frontiers The human-environment interactions that lie at of the past were conjured in contrast to the the heart of environmental geography are not crowded and degraded lands of Western Eur- confined to the spaces within our atmosphere. ope, where social inequalities had immiserated In the contexts of intensifying climate change millions at the of the industrial revolution. impacts and protracted armed conflicts, outer Observing this, urban elites concluded that the space is being reimagined as an ecosystem in world was heading towards a population- which human activities could be supported induced Malthusian disaster. The salvation of 8 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) civilization was to be found in conquering the location and access (MacDonald, 2007). Even resource frontiers of the Americas, Africa, and in the supposedly consequence-free terrain Australasia. Whatever already existed there was offered by the immensity of outer space, we fit only for sacrifice to the ‘greater good’ of must reckon with the environmental outcomes colonial civilization. The imaginaries of fron- of our actions. How we relate to our environ- tiers and sacrifice zones continue to be key fea- ments is defined by a diverse array of practices tures of globalization processes (Tsing, 2005), enacted over time through contingent processes and, I would argue, a central feature of our drive shaped by multiple competing forms of power. to colonize extra-global space. In other words, outer space is in no small part In our age of intractable global challenges, what we make of it. The first 50 years of space environmentally-inflected arguments in favour exploration proceeded under terms very differ- of space exploration possess a compelling logic. ent from the colonialist extractivism that had To wit: if pollution and resource scarcity are at defined the preceding centuries and has re- the heart of so much conflict on earth, why not emerged this decade. According to Article 1 of send our waste to outer space while harvesting the 1967 Outer Space (OST), any data the infinite resources of the cosmos (Zabarah, gathered in the course of outer space research is 2015)? In a slightly different vein: if regulation legally enshrined as the ‘province of all and social issues pose barriers to investment and [hu]mankind’ (, 1967). No part extraction on earth, why not move extractive of outer space can be claimed as the exclusive industries to entirely unpopulated places domain of any state or entity, and any use of beyond our terrestrial home (Lamb, 2010)? outer space whatsoever must be for peaceful Perhaps it is because these imaginaries rely purposes. According to the 1984 Agree- on familiar colonial logics that these discourses ment, any resource extraction must be governed have found sympathetic audiences in elite polit- by the international community and carried out ical, scientific, and financial circles. Some of in a way that takes the interest of all of humanity the many results have been a renewed popular into account, with special emphasis on the needs fascination with colonizing Mars, new legisla- and interests of developing countries (United tive practices that empower private enterprises Nations, 1984). intent on exploiting outer space, and the chan- The OST is among the most robust scientific nelling of massive sums of capital to support a treaty regimes in the contemporary era, with nascent global ‘NewSpace’ industry (Valentine, 124 signatories including all space-faring pow- 2012; Martin, 2014). The contemporary ers. Yet it may prove to be a temporary article. arrangement of power and technology lends Recent legislative developments in the US and fantastic space exploration narratives an unpre- Luxembourg officially recognize the private cedented air of possibility. property rights of their citizenry to outer space resources (114–90, Public Law, 2015; l’E´ cono- mie, 2016). This legislation is one example of 2 Governing the ‘free gifts’ of the cosmos how outer space can be transformed from ‘the The physical, legal and logistical realities gov- common heritage of all [hu]mankind’ to a pri- erning human engagement with outer space vatized frontier for capitalist accumulation by a should serve to temper these fantastic dis- shifting set of ideas empowered by changing courses. The ‘free gifts’ of the cosmos are in political economies. By opening up outer space fact governed by robust treaty regimes. Our to private property rights, states can stake terri- capacity to exploit the ‘infinity’ of outer space torial claims through other means. In outer is mediated by geographical factors such as space, as on earth, political economy is a driving Dunnett et al. 9 force of land use change, even if we are not already limited number of exit and re-entry referring to ‘land’ in the terrestrial sense. routes for new space launches and limits access to orbital pathways for future space-faring powers (NRC, 2011). The state of affairs raises 3 The physical limits of infinity questions of historical responsibility for con- In this new, exploitation-driven space race, it is tamination and remediation of our immediate not uncommon to encounter claims that the infi- near-earth environment. Like the oceans and nite expanse of the cosmos affords infinite the atmosphere, once thought to be too opportunities for both accumulation and pollu- immensetobeaffectedbyhumanactivity, tion. After all, the sheer quantity of mineral even the infinity of outer space cannot provide resources in outer space is staggering, and it an infinite dumping ground. would be physically impossible for human was- Whether our engagement with outer space tefulness to fill outer space in the manner that holds promise or peril for our species is not deter- we have overburdened air, sea, and land on mined by outer space itself. As with earthly envir- earth. In this way, outer space is framed as the ons, the immensity of a given place or the ultimate sacrifice zone. Not only is it thought of abundance of a given resource does not, by its as an uninhabited immensity that can be used mere existence, offer salvation or condemnation. and polluted as much as humanly possible, the What matters is how specific places and resources fact that it is infinite is taken to mean that human are valorized, by whom, and towards what ends. activities will not have any meaningful conse- quences (Klinger, 2017). These discourses are common among NewS- 4 An environmental geography of outer pace industries, investors, and advocates, but space they demonstrate a rather serious scientific illit- These circumstances charge an environmental eracy. Most basically, the infinity of the cosmos geography of outer space with three primary pur- is unavoidably mediated by our place-based poses, which align with the broader objectives of engagement with it. Space may be infinite, but critical geography (Peake and Sheppard, 2014). we are not. This fundamental fact structures our The first is disciplinary. Environmental geogra- behaviour. Our bodies and our technologies are phy is concerned with the processes and practices always located in specific places, and therefore that define human-environment interactions. As produce geographies that, however expansive, such, it is an expansive and diversely-populated are nevertheless limited in space and time. ‘middle ground’ (Castree et al., 2009) in which Infinity has a geography, and one aspect of specialists in physical and human geography take that geography is environmental. An example of different approaches to common concerns. One this is the orbital debris surrounding earth. Cur- need not look far to realize that an environmental rently, half a million pieces of space junk clutter geography of outer space must necessarily be earth orbits, posing dangers to the international both wide-ranging and specific. It not only con- space station, and new space launches cerns specific places and environments beyond (Damjanov, 2015). Traveling at speeds of up to our atmosphere which we engage either directly 28,000 km per hour, an item the size of a small or via robotic surrogates, but also our terrestrial screw could seriously damage or disable other practices that inform our engagement with outer space vehicles. This highlights the vulnerabil- space and shape our conceptions of what it is ity of human beings and technologies in outer useful for. space. The debris generated by the first The second purpose is empirical. Environ- decades of space exploration constrains the mental geographers have been at the forefront 10 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) of interrogating the nature-culture paradigm, travel, exploration, and the potential for human uncovering how ideas of nature shape our rela- settlement beyond earth, there are clear avenues tionship to it in concrete ways. Over the past for productively engaging with outer space geo- decades, this has transformed the ways we edu- graphies from a historical standpoint. Recent cate younger generations and formulate programs scholarshipinhistoricalgeography,infact,takes for change. Policy and physics are equally critical up numerous themes that could be directly factors governing our engagement with outer applied to outer space, helping ground current space. Also important is the state of science and debates and decisions within a longer intellectual technology, cultural trends, and capital flows. history and remedying unfortunate assumptions These myriad factors are concrete, knowable, that outer space is a mere side-note to terrestrial specific and subject to intervention. At a time history. This essay traces several relevant trends when the terms of human engagement with outer in recent historical-geographic research to illus- space are being transformed by militarist and trate the dividends that would accrue from their accumulationist interests, empirical engagement application to outer space geographies. with the spaces of outer space as we imagine and produce them is urgently needed. This leads to the third purpose, which is ethi- 1 Geographies of knowledge cal. Many environmental geographers are dri- Historical geographers have now spent two ven by an ethos to uncover how injustices are decades exploring past ‘geographies of knowl- reproduced through the discourses and practices edge’ (see Offen, 2012, for an outline). Primar- with which we transform our physical environ- ily, this line of work involves leveraging ment. Despite clear physical differences, outer insights from colleagues in science and technol- space environments are like earthly environ- ogy studies (STS) to critically examine the ways ments insofar as there is no place where destruc- that people and institutions produce truth, at tion is ethically unambiguous or pollution is different times and in different places. It truly consequence-free. This invites both epis- requires excavating social contexts, parsing the temological and ontological inquiries into how components of expertise, and tracing the acts of environmental geography clarifies our relation- negotiation, translation, or witnessing that ship to outer space, and likewise how our mul- determine whether knowledge claims come to tiple relationships to outer space might improve be considered ‘true’. rather than normalize the geographies of envi- Although the roots of the STS intellectual ronmental injustice we are producing on earth. tradition lie in sociology, geographers have It is precisely this ethos that makes an environ- made significant contributions by illuminating mental geography of outer space both timely the spatial patterns that animate knowledge pro- and necessary. duction and scientific truth claims. Using Livingstone’s (2003) concepts of ‘site’, ‘region’ Julie Klinger and ‘circulation’, historical geographers have Boston University, USA focused productively not only on individual sites of scientific work, but also on the broader IV Historical geographies of outer regional geographies of scientific institutions and networks, as well as the spatial pathways space: knowledge, imagination, and networks along which scientific claims nature travel (Powell, 2007; Finnegan, 2008). Although many engagements with outer space This line of inquiry clearly has much to con- have focused on futuristic concerns with space tribute to outer space geographies, especially in Dunnett et al. 11 historical terms. Despite the existence of some of power even as they purport to represent real- excellent works that critically consider histori- ity (Harley, 1988; Cosgrove, 1999). Historical cal and modern contexts of outer space knowl- geographers have incorporated these insights in edge production (Markley, 2005; Vertesi, 2015; two ways. First, they have engaged in critical Messeri, 2016), very few have yet explicitly analyses of the cultures of cartography and the considered the geographies of outer space role of maps in a variety of historical and mod- knowledge production (Dittmer, 2007; Lane, ern institutions. From nation-building to land 2011). Given the sheer scale of the scientific management to the control of indigenous land- programs undertaken to visit and/or photograph scapes, maps play a powerful discursive role celestial bodies in the last century, however, it that goes far beyond innocent representation stands to reason that historical investigators and acts to produce and discipline new realities should critically investigate their geographical (e.g. Kirsch, 2002; Roth, 2008). Second, his- dimensions. From the marshalling of extensive torical geographers have also started to more financial and human resources, to the coordina- critically consider the nature of their own tion of numerous research teams, and to the mapmakingandthepowersitwieldsinthe control and staging of publicity events, the pro- world. Recent works have wrestled with ques- duction of outer space knowledge claims is tions of how to undertake historical cartogra- clearly defined by vivid geographies of site, phy in ways that open multiple ways of region, and circulation. Historical geographers understanding past landscapes and experi- are leading much of the theoretical development ences, rather than presenting them as incon- in geographies of science and are thus well testable or determined by the mapmaker placed to deepen current understanding of outer (Crampton, 2009; Pearce, 2012). space geographies. Outer space geographies could benefit from these multiple approaches for exploring geo- graphic imaginations. Since well before celes- 2 Geographic imaginations tial bodies were considered physically Although historical geographers have certainly reachable, outer space geographies have been embraced (and built on) STS methods that prior- explored through fiction and via visual technol- itize attention to the mechanics and logics of ogies. More recently, cartography has become a scientific knowledge production, the sub- primary form of recording, analysing and pre- discipline has also remained steadfastly com- senting knowledge about outer space, in turn mitted to the core humanistic imperative of influencing fictional engagements with the tracing meaning. In this work, historical geogra- spaces of outer space. Productive historical geo- phy intersects with other disciplines such as lit- graphies of outer space, then, would examine erary studies, cultural geography, and the these past episodes of mapmaking and history of cartography to explore ‘geographic meaning-making, tracing the multiple geogra- imaginations’ and their meanings in different phical imaginations at work. The early maps times and places. of Mars, for instance, were produced by small In tracing the intersection of historical geo- communities of expert astronomers and con- graphies of meaning with historical geographies sumed by broad public audiences whose carto- of knowledge, we turn inevitably to the role of graphic literacy allowed them to equate claims maps and cartography as imaginative agents. about Martian landscapes with those emanating Critical histories of cartography have convin- from European colonial realms. Fierce public cingly shown that map production, circulation, interest and debate in the Mars maps then dis- and consumption must be viewed as expressions rupted some of the astronomical community’s 12 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) emerging professional norms, creating a com- reinforce the control of non-European peoples plex episode of knowledge production that (Davis, 2006). The legacies of colonial/imperial defies the false conceptual divide between ‘sci- approaches to environment thus linger in ways entific’ and ‘popular’ geographies and imagina- that are difficult to trace or challenge, given tions (Lane, 2011). their foundational and underlying status in the In thus excavating the underlying political modern postcolonial state. With specific regard and economic geographies that animate human to climate, deterministic imaginations have interest in outer space, or even by engaging in been used to justify the entirety of imperial and alternate cartographies of outer space, historical colonial projects (Livingstone, 2002), and his- geographers could help us move past current torical geography has recently exploded with a narratives that prioritize technoscientific studies raft of publications that analyse past ‘cultures of as ‘correct’ and fictional engagements as ‘ima- climate’ to trace the many narratives and mean- ginative’. Instead, we should investigate the ings that have surrounded human-climate inter- ways that both types of knowledge production actions (Daniels and Endfield, 2009; Heymann, are imaginative and are used to make meaning, 2010). leveraging these insights to influence current These efforts have importance for the agendas and imaginations. emerging subfield of outer space geographies, which merits far greater attention from histori- cal and critical geographers concerned with cul- 3 Nature-society geographies tures and narratives of climate and climate One of the most provocative areas of geographic change. First, many early imaginations of imagination – in historical geographic scholar- extra-terrestrial bodies during the ‘telescopic ship and also in the study of outer space – con- era’ were concerned with climate, especially cerns the relationship between nature and in attempts to divine where potential inhabitants society. Historical geography has long focused of the moon or Mars might fit on a climatically- on the environment, tracing not only the past determined hierarchy of cultures. These early states of specific environmental features (as is imaginations, replete with assumptions about still the focus of environmental history) but also climatic and environmental determinism, show the past states of human-environment interac- both that nature-society geographies were tions, nature-society paradigms, and environ- important to understandings of outer space and mental knowledge (Naylor, 2006). The most that knowledge about outer space participated in recent historical geography work in this vein the larger intellectual evolution of nature- takes two related pathways: one concerned with society thinking. Second, more recent historical ‘environmental imaginations and change under imaginations during the ‘satellite era’ have radi- colonialism and imperialism’ (Offen, 2012: cally changed human understandings of the 532), and another concerned very specifically nature-society relationship, primarily by shift- with ‘the meaning of climate and climate ing perspective to a location beyond earth. As change’ (Offen, 2014: 476). Cosgrove (1994) showed, the first images of Engaging with political ecology, historical earth as seen from space upended beliefs about geographers have chronicled the ways that colo- the nature-society relationship and ushered in nial and imperial institutions functioned in the the first political movements devoted to chang- past not only to control peoples and environ- ing human impacts at a global scale. Concerns ments, but also to thoroughly rewrite the rules about human impacts on the earth’s surface are for environmental engagement and knowledge- now regularly reinforced by satellite-based ima- gathering in ways that would themselves gery programs that have chronicled the Dunnett et al. 13 shrinking of the Aral Sea, for instance, and the about the earth as a human-supporting environ- Arctic ice cap. Third, current developments in ment. There is no reason these same insights the ‘Rover era’ reveal that our imaginations of could not be applied to outer space as well. Is outer space are fundamentally tied to beliefs the impulse to expand human settlement to Mars about planetary climate change. NASA’s inves- driven by colonial instincts, or is it based in tigation of terraforming Mars, for example, pre- globalization ideals that will further challenge sented a hopeful view of purposefully- the premise of state-based territorialism? Are engineered climate change that could make the recent recognitions of a climatic Anthropo- Mars habitable for humans (Fogg, 1995; McKay cene and of non-human agency related to and Marinova, 2001). Furthermore, recent ongoing identification of a vast heavens beyond announcements by SpaceX and Boeing that they earth? Will access to celestial bodies and land- are racing to put humans on Mars are based in a scapes be driven by competition, or will it veer related, though more dystopian, view that toward cooperation, and to what extent will humans will need an escape hatch in case these extra-terrestrial engagements open new earth’s own climate changes irreversibly to a imaginative possibilities for social relations in state that is uninhabitable for humans (Vance, the terrestrial realm? 2015). Historical-geographic scholarship can pro- The study of outer space geographies is thus vide the analyses and chronicles that will help sorely in need of historical scholarship that answer these questions and thus help rescue chronicles the specific nature-society geogra- outer space from mistaken conceptualizations phies that have influenced or governed various that it is extra-natural or extra-territorial or episodes of investigation, exploration, and extra-political space. To the extent that this res- claims-making about realms beyond earth’s sur- cue can be carried out through stories that are face. The elements of this chronicle must focus oriented for public consumption, historical geo- not only on the geographic imagination evident graphies of outer space have the potential to in maps, cartography, imagery and narrative, make immediate impacts on ongoing public dis- but also on the modes, contexts and logics of courses and decisions. knowledge production across multiple sites and K. Maria D. Lane scales of claims-making. From individual astro- University of New Mexico, USA nomical observatories to international academic conferences to rover mission control rooms to SpaceX press conferences, outer space geogra- phies are produced in multiple forms. This V Cultures of landscape and the knowledge competes for legitimacy and circu- moral geographies of outer space lates asymmetrically through myriad networks Two concepts in cultural geography can be use- that feed back into the imagined ‘body of fully re-purposed to consider the cultural rele- knowledge’ that itself constrains the next steps vance of outer space in society: cultures of in producing knowledge and imagination. landscape and moral geographies. In forging Approaches from historical geography can these concepts, cultural geographers have inves- help illuminate the nature of this intellectual tigated the ways in which landscape can be process and its points of intersection with other understood not just as a ‘way of seeing’, but also more explicitly political or economic forces. as an embodied experience of natural and cul- Historical geographers have been especially tural environments. Here, researchers have effective at illuminating the power relations that investigated how particular landscapes have underlie our landscapes, institutions, and beliefs been co-constitutive of human cultures, such 14 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) as in national park spaces (Matless, 1994) or played with our understandings of landscape through night-time outdoor art installations in interesting ways. Looking at the ‘’ (Morris, 2011). Concurrently, those investigat- series, taken from orbit around the moon aboard ing moral geographies have sought to explain in 1968, it is possible to trace the pro- the ways in which certain spaces are assigned duction of these photographs to see the ways in moral and ethical characteristics, and how peo- which their orientation and arrangement were ple engage with such spaces through particular deliberately manufactured to align with land- behaviours, enacting certain moral codes scape conventions, thereby familiarizing an oth- (Livingstone, 2002). Applying these conceptual erwise alien place (Cosgrove, 1994). While the engagements to the ‘spaces of outer space’ will ‘earthrise’ series contains undoubtedly some of not only help scholars to understand the practi- the most famous and widely-circulated of the cal implications of human and robotic space Apollo images, there are many additional exploration but also help us to comprehend Apollo photographs that have largely evaded more fully the fundamental relationships scholarly interpretation, receiving critical atten- between humankind and the cosmos, especially tion only in the eyes of conspiracy theorists. in dealing with contemporary questions of Concurrently, historical accounts of Apollo scale, affect and the sublime. Such potential have largely focused on astronaut narratives, engagements with the cultural geographies of alongside analyses of or space outer space shall be explored briefly here hardware (Launius, 2006). Offering a new through a number of case studies that deal with to engage with the Apollo space a range of representational and practice-based photographs, the full collection has recently cultures including science fictional paintings, been released in high-resolution to an online landscape installations and written texts. Flickr account by space enthusiast Kipp Teague in collaboration with NASA (Project Apollo Archive, 2015). It contains many less-known 1 Landscape and cultures of outer space visions of the moon and earth, such as an When considering outer space, landscape may ‘earth-set’ image taken from aboard Apollo not come to mind as a primary register of 17, or astronauts cast in shadow on thought, perhaps due to its long association with the lunar surface. traditional works of art, in contrast to the hyper- Landscape visions of outer space such as the modern imagery that has characterized the Apollo photographs were in many ways fore- ‘space age’. Furthermore, thinking about outer shadowed by the science fictional renderings space commonly connects with notions of emp- of space artists such as Chesley Bonestell tiness or blankness, the lack of a sense of verti- (1888–1986) and RA Smith (1905–1959). cality and the conventional separation between Indeed, research by Sage (2014) has demon- ground and sky that traditionally characterizes strated how Bonestell’s paintings of imagined landscape. However, there are many ways in future landscapes of American space explora- which the conventions of landscape have been tion were embedded within a particular tradition adapted for representing and experiencing outer of frontier landscape imagery connected to space, including through photography and understandings of the sublime in western art. painting, but also in landscape installations and Understandings of landscape and the sublime public art. have also been identified in contemporary Indeed, perhaps the most famous of all images of outer space taken by the earth- images of outer space, the Apollo astronaut orbiting in the 1990s. photographs of the 1960s and 1970s, have Such images, while nominally dispensing with Dunnett et al. 15 the terrestrial, similarly evoke the sublime in space, and the variety of ways in which land- cosmic features such as the Eagle Nebula’s ‘Pil- scapes of outer space can be interpreted through lars of Creation’. Kessler characterizes such embodied experience. images as ‘’s Romantic Land- scapes’, noting the ways in which Hubble images ‘bear a striking resemblance to Earthly 2 Moral geographies of outer space geological and meteorological formations’ In many ways outer space can be considered as a (2012: 5). In such cases, images of outer space, moral or ethical space, whether this refers to the whether from high-tech space photography or act of human space exploration, or affective imaginative renderings, are valued in relation encounters with outer space that people have to sublime spaces on earth, rather than as evi- on earth. This can be seen in 20th-century sci- dence of scientific objectivity attained through entific, literary and philosophical debates about transcending terrestrial limits. space exploration, as well as in broader ques- Whereas such examples can help us to under- tions on the moral claims of scientific progress. stand how to deal with landscape imagery of One of the few sustained critics of human space outer space, other ways of engaging with land- exploration in the 20th century was the author scape can be brought to bear on the cultural and scholar CS Lewis (1898–1963). In a series geographies of outer space. Indeed, geographers of interventions in fictional, academic and epis- have dealt with the embodied experience of tolary texts, Lewis explained how the onset of landscape through practices such as walking space exploration could be seen in terms of an (Wylie, 2005) and nocturnal air travel (Robin- immoral extension of modern science to outer son, 2013). Similarly, the crafted landscapes of space (Dunnett, forthcoming). Lewis criticized stately homes and sculpture parks have been this modern conception of empty, blank ‘space’, examined as physical manifestations of artistic with all its imperial connotations, in favour of and aesthetic values, inviting lived experience an earlier, medieval understanding of the cos- as well as pictorial representation (Daniels, mos as a realm of and spirituality. In 1982; Warren, 2013). Here, work in the geogra- 1954 Lewis had the opportunity to discuss these phies of outer space can engage with particular views with one of the most prominent pro-space types of landscape designed to help in the public advocates of the age, Arthur C Clarke (1917– understanding of the cosmos. Echoing the 2008), when they met in an Oxford pub with assumed intentions of Neolithic sites such as Lewis’s colleague JRR Tolkien and Clarke’s Stonehenge in southern England, one example associate in the British Interplanetary Society, of such a ‘landscape of outer space’ is Armagh Arthur ‘Val’ Cleaver. While the precise con- Observatory Astropark in , a tents of these discussions remain unknown, landscape park designed to encourage visitors Clarke’s later account of the meeting had it end- to reflect on cosmic concepts of scale, distance ing with Lewis commenting, ‘I’m sure you’re and the composition of the universe. Here, a very wicked people – but how dull it would be if combination of sculptural forms and land art everyone was good’ (Clarke, 2003: 34). This have been incorporated into the historic Obser- characterization of space exploration in terms vatory’s grounds, such as the logarithmically- of good versus wicked thereby distils the debate arranged ‘Hill of Infinity’ and a ‘Human Orrery’ as an essentially moral conflict. Whereas Clarke in which visitors can embody the movement of held the view that humanity must move into celestial objects. This type of understanding of outer space in order to fulfil its as a landscape can help demonstrate the relevance of species (Bjørnvig, 2012), Lewis was of the cultural geography to making sense of outer belief that the vast astronomical distances 16 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) separating the planets represented ‘God’s quar- transhumanism, whose adherents acclaim ‘the antine regulations’ (Lewis, 1943: 73). As such, converging influences of bioethics, science fic- Lewis can be understood as someone who tion, life extension medicine, artificial intelli- framed his understanding of outer space in spe- gence ...space exploration [and] secular cifically moral terms, drawing on his personal humanism’ (Hughes, 2004: xviii). Like spiritual and ethical convictions. Fedorov and the bio-Cosmists of revolutionary Whereas Lewis viewed space exploration as , here we can find adherents of a liberal a moral transgression, others have sought to attitude to scientific and technological claim the inhabitation of outer space as a moral advances in the space age, who see post- right. Here we can look back to the Russian terran futures for humankind in a moral and Cosmism movement of the 1920s, which fol- ethical framework. Such framings of outer lowed the teachings of Nicolai Fedorov space and space exploration are surely perti- (1829–1903) and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky nent to the anticipation of future human activ- (1857–1935). Drawing on Christian narratives ities in outer space. of the Second Coming as part of his Philosophy The case studies highlighted in this commen- of the Common Task, Fedorov announced that tary show some of the ways in which outer space ‘conquest of the path to space is an absolute might be dealt with from a cultural geography imperative, imposed on us as a duty in prepara- perspective, particularly through the conceptual tion for the Resurrection’ (cited in Siddiqi, frameworks of landscape and moral geogra- 2010: 80). Fedorov’s Anarchist-Biocosmist fol- phies. In treating outer space as a cultural land- lowers declared that ‘the two basic human rights scape or as a moral and ethical space, we can [are] the right to live forever and the right to open up discourses of outer space to new critical unimpeded movement in interplanetary space’ attention. This is particularly relevant in an age (2010: 107). This philosophy of Cosmism was in which a proliferation of new space ventures seen as an antidote to Western Enlightenment look set to explore and exploit outer space in the ideals of empiricism, rationalism and human- interests of those who are capable of sponsoring ism, and found cultural expression in the New such efforts. As such, it is just as important to Economic Policy era of Revolutionary Russia think through the ways in which outer space has through the paintings of avant-garde artists such been conceptualized imaginatively, as well as as Konstantin Yuon (1875–1958) and in science through direct encounters in human and robotic fiction films such as Aelita: Queen of Mars spaceflight, a vision which Cosgrove (2008: 35) (1924). foresaw as a ‘cosmography for the twenty-first These imagined futures view space explora- century ...as extra-terrestrial space itself takes tion in moral terms: as a basic human right on a more complex human geography’. variously associated with religious narratives Oliver Dunnett and discourses of trans-humanism. Far from Queen’s University Belfast, UK being dismissed as quirky and irrelevant, researchers such as Siddiqi have shown how these cultures of outer space were important pre-cursors to national space programmes, VI Nationalism and outer space with once-maligned figures such as Tsiolk- ovsky being rehabilitated and celebrated as the ‘Atlantis Go’ ...‘Good luck to you and your crew forefathers of the Soviet space programme. on the final flight of this true American icon.’ Indeed, we might point towards connections (NASA Mission Crew & , Cited between Russian Cosmism and contemporary in Shukman, 2011: Video) Dunnett et al. 17

Tim Peake is seen preparing his space suit for his where they are, who they are, and what they are spacewalk, the Union Jack is emblazoned, obvi- about’ (2011: 19). Material cultures of human ous with the white background, upon the suit’s left spaceflight thus present an interesting avenue to arm – he is the first British astronaut to travel to investigate the interests of a state reflecting and and live aboard the International Space Station. reifying its own sense of identity. His doing so has captured the nation’s imagina- To turn to an example of this I draw on some tion. (adapted from Briggs, 2016) research on the iconography of the Space Shut- The geographies of outer space are inherently tle mission patches (NASA, 2011). Mission linked to terrestrial understandings of nations patches were a tradition stemming from the mil- and nationalism. Recent research, by both social itary, from where the first astronauts were scientists and geographers, has explored the recruited. The patches were designed uniquely relationship between nationalism and a variety for each mission, led by the astronauts with of social practices and materialities (Merriman input from other NASA officials. The patches and Jones, 2017; Militz and Schurr, 2016; Pen- were then included in mission-related docu- rose, 2011). My opening vignettes aim to reso- ments, on the suits of astronauts and in a variety nate with this interest, through the discourses of of Space Shuttle related publications. They nationalism, both visual and textual, included in became commonly recognized symbols of the programmes, and what this US space program. The use of flags, stars and means on an embodied level, both individually eagles in many patches created an undoubtedly and collectively. Using the Space Shuttle pro- ‘American’ object. gramme as an example, I look to demonstrate Figure 1 speaks to this visual culture and the why a geography of outer space matters to the relation that material cultures of human space- study of nationalism. First, I will consider some flight have within a context of geopolitical posi- of the iconography that surrounds human space- tioning, in that the mission patches ask us to flight and the discourses they encode. Second, I reflect on the discourses that surround their pro- will consider the importance of the embodied duction. In asking these questions, we begin to aspect of nationalism (Closs Stephens, 2016; paint a picture of a patch’s intertextuality. The Merriman and Jones, 2017; Militz and Schurr, patch was created during the Cold War and 2016), particularly in line with contemporary STS-36’s mission objective was classified interest in non-representational geographies and owing to its operation by the US Department affect (Anderson, 2014). of Defence. The images contained within the Sage (2014) has argued how outer space patch, most prominently a bald eagle (the itself influenced the cultural imagination of the national emblem of the USA) and an American United States from the mid-20th-century flag, taken within the context of a Cold War through to the late-2000s. This leads to further Department of Defence mission, tell a particular considerations around the agency of spaceflight story of what the astronauts wanted to represent discourses and representations that emerged in their mission. This might be interpreted as the the United States, and beyond, of an ‘American’ symbolization of the critical role spaceflight spaceflight. Indeed, it can be argued that the was seen to play in waging the Cold War, as discourses encoded in spaceflight iconography well as perpetuating an American manifest des- are important signifiers of the nation, in line tiny into outer space (Sage, 2014). The further with Brunn’s assertion that when ‘states empha- circulation of the patch into museums and its sise “the visual” ...they inform and educate consumption as a souvenir then begin to not their own populations and those beyond about only reflect an image of American spaceflight but also to reify the discourses encoded within. 18 Progress in Human Geography XX(X)

that is not territorialized but is a bounded entity through terrestrial . There is much mile- age still in considering discourses, and what they are seen to show or relate to, and through this we can attend to the cultures that human spaceflight has created and is creating even now in an increasingly globalized, and arguably visual, world. Discourses, though, can only tell us so much, presenting a partial perspective from a respon- dent’s or scholar’s reading of the object of study. The question that follows on is what do discourses of nationalism do? In response to movements in geography around non- representational theories (Anderson, 2014), the nature of experience and of ‘being in the world’ has come into question, and its engagement with Figure 1. STS-36 (1990) (NASA, 2011). a plethora of sub-disciplines in geography has been called for, with political geographies and nationalism being of particular relevance here Attending to these visual cultures of outer (Merriman and Jones, 2017; Mu¨ller, 2015). If a space is important and in particular the kinds discourse is a written, spoken or visual form of of images that become associated with space- communication, then how that is represented is flight, within particular national contexts. This important. If we then accept, within the turn to work can more widely speak to debates around relational geographies, that ‘a representation how ‘state and non-state agents and institutions mayfunctionasa“smallcoginanextra- reproduce social relations of “stateness”‘ (Pen- textual practice” (Deleuze, 1972 in Smith, rose, 2011: 439) towards outer space, which is 1998) ...[then] we must pay attention to how supposed to be ‘stateless’ (Collis, 2016). Begin- representations function affectively and how ning with the mission patches opens up ques- affective life is imbued with representations’ tions of what is symbolized in the images and (Anderson, 2014: 14). This trajectory of thought why, but also who designed them and how that has begun to take hold within geographic individual, or group, came to choose them. Geo- enquiry into nationalism (Closs Stephens, graphers have been interested in these questions 2016; Merriman and Jones, 2017; Militz and with other material objects, for example bank- Schurr, 2016). notes (Penrose, 2011). Attending to visual cul- tures of outer space might add new layers and , assemblages of discourses, that have become Exhibit entangled through the messiness of a space pro- The music rises, as the model spacecraft that gram being for one nation, in my example the opened the video swoops out of the screen USA, but at the same time being seen as a ben- towards us, with the globe spread out as a back- efit of and for humanity as a whole. How dis- drop: ‘33 missions, 26 years, over 126 million courses are presented in visual culture, in this miles, Atlantis, welcome home’. The model case mission patches, leads us to consider new morphs into the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle comes questions of nationalism in relation to a space into focus at an oblique angle as it would be seen Dunnett et al. 19

by an astronaut in orbit above the earth. The created at the start of the exhibit, this was seen music has reached its crescendo, the screen, sud- as an ‘out-of-place’ flagging, an intrusion, in a denly no longer there, the actual shuttle is what moment within a space that was felt to be solely we were staring at. Whoops and hollers sound out about American nationalism and American through the crowd, a voice chants ‘USA’, people spaceflight. gasp, the atmosphere is ‘abuzz’, ablaze with exci- Since the retirement of the remaining fleet of tement as the group, steadily, walk toward it ... Space Shuttle orbiters, they have been donated ...we are standing toward the back of the to museums across the USA. The Space Shuttle shuttle now, the exhaust end of the orbiter, the fleet has thus become a new body within a con- red white and blue American flag is clear on the structed assemblage of remembering human inside of the open shuttle payload bay, another spaceflight, whilst also bringing together the emblazoned on its left side. Nationalistic pride discourses that surround the broader legacy of is clear for all to see, this was the United States’ the program into its exhibits. Work in national- Shuttle. But a little red maple leaf is present on the ism has started to engage with this, with peo- robotic arm, ‘ha [chortles/snorts] look at Canada ple’s experience of spaces and places becoming trying to get in there. It’s our shuttle ...’. (adapted from research notes; see also NASA, 2013) part of national affective atmospheres (Closs Stephens, 2016) that contribute to a feeling of Anderson and Ash have argued that the ‘more national identity, to which, it has been argued, everyday, banal, or quotidian atmospheres, outer space has been an integral contributor in [ ...] may in fact be more important to the America (Sage, 2014). ongoing maintenance of social life or the per- This heritage of American human spaceflight formance of power and politics [than intense becomes entwined with national ideals of atmospheres of fear or panic]’ (2015: 36). The ‘American-ness’ and what that means. These vignette above presents the idea that ‘national spaces of heritage and memorial, such as the forces, feelings and identifications can ...be Kennedy Space Centre, where the vignette is approached as emergent and relational’ (Merri- drawn from, is an example of the kind of work man and Jones, 2017: 613) through mediated geographers could, and have begun to consider interactions between environments, material- (Sage, 2014), and might speak to debates ities and individuals. The assemblage of the ongoing in human geography around non- music, the presentation of the shuttle above the representational geographies and nationalism Earth, and its subsequent ‘welcome home’ to (Merriman and Jones, 2017). Human interest the museum, the centre of American and activity in outer space has created terrestrial spaceflight, affected individuals to openly and spaces of memory and thus inquiry, particularly overtly express the nationalistic feeling this in museums, that contribute not only to an affec- assemblage had created within them through tive relation to and of outer space in our every- patriotic shouts. This can be seen as the culmi- day lives, but also reflect the relationship nation of the effect of the Space Race through its between space and nationalism through their production of a Space Shuttle and the subse- display. In order to attend to these non- quent development of its capacity to be recog- representational interests, scholars are still nized as an intrinsically American symbol. debating appropriate methods (Vannini, 2015). Despite the overt flagging of American Here I have presented building a layered per- nationalism, the international cooperation that spective of place in order to get at the textures developed within spaceflight is also apparent, of those spaces. This could involve ethnography with the appearance of the Canadian flag. in order to consider a place’s materialities, Amidst the affective atmosphere that was the images associated with the space, the 20 Progress in Human Geography XX(X) performances of people and objects within it, answers/5559684? srid¼n2Fg&share¼1 (accessed 1 rules and regulations (implied and expected) December 2017). as well as the affects and feelings the researcher Asner G (2007) Space history from the bottom-up. In: Dick encounters and has. SJ and Launius R (eds) Societal Impact of Spaceflight. In this section, in relation to contemporary Washington, DC: NASA, 387–406. 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