Space travel: 10 out-of-this-world-destinations (Page 2)


London Eye, River Thames, Big Ben and Parliament

5: London: Doctor Who’s city of disaster

Poor London. Since Doctor Who returned to television in 2005, the city has suffered terribly: The London Eye ferris wheel was turned into an alien transmitter, Big Ben was destroyed by an out-of-control spaceship and the River Thames was drained to flush away an infestation of giant spiders from outer space.

Fortunately all of these landmarks, within close proximity of one another, are safe and sound in real life and ready for tourists.

London is rich not only with history real and alternate, but is also full of sites that capitalize on the popularity of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Giza Plateau in Egypt Stargate

4: Egypt, Stargate’s parking lot of the gods

In the world of Stargate, a 1994 feature film later developed into a TV franchise that is still going strong, the pyramids of Egypt were built as landing pads for the spaceships of advanced alien scavengers called Goa’uld. Many similar theories have been proposed in real life. Whatever their origin, the grandiose structures that housed the remains of pharaohs and their courts are majestic enough without the aid of science fiction.

Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming

3: Devil’s Tower, the world’s yummiest mountain (Close Encounters of the Third Kind)

The origin of this national monument in northeast Wyoming has mystified geologists, but it is probably more famous worldwide for its use as the site of official first contact between mankind and extraterrestrials in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However it formed, it is probably the only natural formation to be immortalized on film as a mashed potato sculpture. Mmmmmm.

Map of Tolkien's Middle-earth

2: New Zealand, where Tolkien’s fantastical Middle-earth became reality (The Lord of the Rings)

OK, so it’s not quite science fiction. But fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth fantasy stories — including The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings — had to wait many, many, many years to see their beloved books visualized properly by Peter Jackson, but when it happened it was done right. New Zealand simply is Middle-Earth, and its sweeping beauty is worth appreciating for its own sake as well as taking in the epic vistas where mighty armies clashed in the War of the Ring.

Space tourist Dennis Tito (AP photo)

1. Space, the final frontier

At about $30 million per trip, this is probably the least-feasible destination on the list — but it is, without a doubt, the one that has captured the most imaginations and led to the creation of the sci-fi genre as we know it.

The sky’s the limit.

— Jayson Peters