As more ambitious flights take to the skies, ventures of space tourism continue to hit the headlines.
It’s not the first time that worlds beyond our own have looked so close. Through movie magic, film-makers have imagined how other worlds might appear, positioning some of the grandest destinations on Earth to look as if they belong to other realms.
These sites of exploration won’t require a rocket ship but do promise otherworldly sights. They’ve all been sci-fi certified for their surroundings – think the immersive landscapes of Star Wars and Planet of the Apes.
These rocky structures were a hideaway for Luke Skywalker.
Skellig Michael, Ireland
This twin-pinnacled Irish crag was utilised as the home of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The island was said to be located on Ahch-To in the franchise films. The island sits in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Ireland and boasts an extremely scenic outlook. The rocky island has steep cliff edges and a sweeping view over the sea. It is also known for the monastery that sits near its peak. The pebble and dome structures played the role of Mark Hamil’s hideaway in the films – their strange look making them a good fit for the “galaxy far, far away”. The site was also declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1996.
This Icelandic glacier is a key filming spot in the space epic Interstellar. Photo / Unsplash
The world of Interstellar may have felt like an immersive, out-of-reach reality, but the filming location itself is not quite as complicated to reach. The small Icelandic town of Klaustur and the Icelandic glacier of Svínafellsjökull became backdrops for the Christopher Nolan space travel epic. The strange, patterned lines of the glacier make them intensely photogenic and the icy setting became a piece of scenery key to some of the film’s most dramatic moments. It’s also a popular tourist destination, as many pack their hiking boots to see the spot for themselves.
Lake Powell is a science-fiction filming staple. Photo / Unsplash
Lake Powell, Arizona
This artificial reservoir in Arizona and Utah has been a coveted location for three major sci-fi pieces, as its red surroundings and rocky terrain make it an unusual spectacle for many. Planet of the Apes (the 1968 version) utilised the major tourist destination as a crash-landing spot on a supposed alien planet for confused astronauts. John Carter used the red surroundings of the desert to stand in for Mars. Gravity also used the lake as a landing spot, though it was more firmly positioned as Earth in the blockbuster – which made a great case for staying put on stable grounds.