Cultural landscapes in outer space

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The World Heritage Convention categories of designed, organic, and associative capture the characteristics of space facilities on Earth, spacecraft and space debris in Earth orbit, and the solar system and beyond, respectively. On Earth, interpreting the setting of space facilities as cultural landscapes integrates, rather than juxtaposes, the material remains of different historical periods and communities. A common trope has the Space Age replacing the Stone Age, masking the continuing occupation of Indigenous people at facilities like early Cold War launch sites, which were constructed in ostensibly ‘empty lands’. The current approach to space debris is Space Situational Awareness. The cultural landscape is also formed by the decay of spacecraft into micro- and nanoparticles. Humans and hominin ancestors have been able to observe lunar landscapes from afar for millions of years. The multifarious associations we have with the heavens are being transformed by 21st-century scientific and commercial activities.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Cultural Landscape Practice
EditorsSteve Brown, Cari Goetcheus
Place of PublicationOxon, United Kingdom
PublisherTaylor and Francis - Balkema
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781351787079, 9781315203119
ISBN (Print)9781138703490, 9781032415147
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Cultural landscapes
  • Cultural terraforming
  • Space
  • Place names


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