A UNIVERSITY lecturer has predicted a dark future for tourism in space.

Dr James Ormrod, a sociology lecturer at the University of Brighton, said people “aren’t asking the right kind of questions” about space tourism.

He said: “We should be asking whether it should be done and who benefits from it.

“The people who will benefit from it will be the wealthy.

“There are issues with the environmental impact too which haven’t been addressed.”

With the rise of companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, which aim to run holidays in space, Dr Ormrod has written an essay on the topic.

He said there were a number of reasons why space tourism catches the imagination of holidaymakers.

“Most research suggests if you ask people why they want to go to space, they will say a real variety of things,” he said.

“Some people will say the adrenaline and the thrill.

“But for others it’s the sense of floating in space as a calm, relaxing experience.

“But these were mostly responses to market research.

“I wanted to dig deeper.”

As Caribbean holidays become cheaper, Dr Ormrod said space tourism could be the next destination on rich tourists’ minds.

He said: “ If you went back a few years, the rich leisure class, who only go on holidays and don’t work, would go on Caribbean holidays.

“They used to be unaffordable for most, but now they

are available to the mass market.

“There’s one argument that space tourism is the next step.

“Being part of that leisure class is doing things that not many people have done.”

Dr Ormrod also studied the social effects of space tourism.

This includes the “overview effect”, when astronauts see the Earth from outer space for the first time and their perspective is changed.

“For lots of people who support space tourism, it’s a humbling experience,” Dr Ormrod said.

“You can see the whole world and you realise we’re all in it together.

“Some astronauts describe it in religious terms.

“The idea is they will spread this message about having experienced this.”

But the sociology lecturer criticised the idea as unrealistic.

He said: “There’s something dangerous in thinking that we’re all in it together.

“In fact, we’re not.

“There are some people who are exploiting others, we’re a divided planet and we shouldn’t deny that.

“A lot of astronauts have been frustrated with spreading the idea because it relies so much on personal experience.”