Broadcast 3499 Dr. Deana Weibel

The Space Foundation Conference

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Guest;  Dr. Deana Weibel;  Topics:  Space tourism in the context of faith, history, our destiny for the future and much more. 

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We welcomed Dr. Deana Weibel to the show for a comprehensive space tourism discussion over one segment and 80 minutes.  Dr. Weibel was asked to be a guest on the program based on her excellent paper, "Following the Path That Heroes Carved into History: Space Tourism, Heritage, and Faith in the Future."  You can read and download tis paper here:  In addition, our guest provided us with multiple related interviews, stories, and publications which have been posted with links on our blog.  I urge you to check them out. 

We started our discussion by asking our guest how she got interested in space, human spaceflight, space tourism, and especially from her academic fields of anthropology, religious study and related fields.  As our guest explained her interest and background and how she came to the topics at hand for today's discussion, we moved into many of the areas covered by her paper referenced above.  I urge you to read her paper as it was a great foundation for today's discussion. 

Examples of discussion topics applicable to space tourism focus included anthropology, space tourism as a new type of spiritual pilgrimage, adventure travel as a pilgrimage, and space as a spiritual experience including the connection to The Overview Effect.  In this early part of our discussion, our guest talked about differences between suborbital tourism and orbital tourism but even more was said about these space tourism categories later in our conversation.  Space settlement entered into our discussion, along with religion in space, astronaut prayer and meditation, plus religious events that have already taken place in space.  Don't miss some of the events she mentioned. Most of them were new to me per the example of a Torah being unrolled over Jerusalem.

Our guest was asked if she thought space tourism was essential for us.  As a background to this question, we often here that we must go to space, explore or we will wither up and eventually die as a society.  Please listen to how Deana responded to this question.  Post your comments on this topic on our blog.  We want to hear from you.  Listener Karen from Seattle sent in a note asking about historical roots with early humans.  Did they yearn for the stars and to go to places in the h heavens?  Once again you will want to hear how Deana responded to this question. 

As our discussion evolved, we talked about how space tourism was presently sold to the "usual" target market.  I mentioned that the religious, spiritual, and cultural aspects were not typically used as selling points. Deana and I had quite the discussion about this that continue on and off for the rest of our program.  Alex for example asked about the possible appeal of marketing space tourism as a spiritual experience.  I believe you will find this part of our conversation to be great interest with lots of new material.  As I said before, we want to hear from you so don't be shy, post your comments for us all on the blog.  Our guest was even asked about space tourists seeking a religious or spiritual experience on the flight adjacent to someone wanting a bold adventure.  How would they get along given sometimes here on Earth religious folks are sometimes treated differently.  Listen to what Deana said about both groups experiencing a type of AWE in space.

With the end of the program approaching, our guest talked more about suborbital tourism.  She talked about the short time for such flights, the easier adjustment for participants, the lower cost, less chance of problems due to less microgravity and radiation, but also less time to have the types of experiences referenced earlier in our program.  That said, our guest thought that space tourist would still experience AWE though it might be very different for each person and type and duration of flight.  Before we ended our program, we talked about the possibility of upcoming "charter" type space tourism flights for religious folks wanting a religious experience, even people wanting to have a wedding or some significant event in space.  AWE would possibly become a sought after benefit regardless of what the person was seeking from their space trip/flight.  In closing, we talked about settlement and fulfilling a sense of destiny by going into space. 

Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Deana Weibel on our blog for this show. You can reach guest through me or her website,  We look forward to future programs on these topics with Deana.




A discussion about her recent space tourism paper, "Following the Path That Heroes Carved into History: Space Tourism, Heritage, and Faith in the Future."

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24 Apr 2020 Dr. Deana Weibel
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