Tourism in Fenspace
There are a number of locations where Fen can vacation, and can reasonably expect to meet Mundanes who are also vacationing in Fenspace. There are also a number of locations in Fenspace where tourism is either unlikely or unwanted.
The most popular 'Dane tourist destination is Luna. It's close to Earth; once Fen spacecraft clear Earth's atmosphere, travel time to Luna is measured in minutes, not days or months. Luna is also close enough to Earth that the lightspeed communications lag is barely noticeable. Luna is home to Tranquility Base, the site of the first off-world human landing - a location respected by humans of almost all nationalities and philosophies, and guarded by the United States Coast Guard. 'Dane tourists with any curiousity about Fen life often visit the Metahuman Power Biomodification Research Institute in Kandor City (by appointment only, and please don't comment on their lack of success) and the Senshi "Moon Kingdom Memorial Outpost" in the Sea of Serenity.
The next most popular 'Dane tourist destination is the Earth-Luna L5 station Stellvia. It isn't the first Fen space station, or the largest, or the friendliest, but it is the closest Fen space station that caters to tourists from Earth; this makes it a natural transfer point for Mundane tourists venturing into Fenspace proper. Very few Fen consider Stellvia to be a tourist destination, though; the vast majority of Fen are used to living in artificial habitats, so this is "just another space station" to them.
|Customs requirements, or lack thereof|
|The traditional role of Customs is to control the import or export of some goods and to collect revenue upon trade. The latter of these concerns is negated by the Treaty of Kandor-Con which (amongst other things) established Fenspace as a free trade area. As a general rule, there are very few items that Fen are intent upon banning from their space, and therefore custom checks by Fen are the exception rather than the rule. However, this does not translate into licence to use recreational drugs or to carry weapons - always check local safety regulations. The USCG post on Luna does make cursory checks upon arrivals on Luna from Earth and some form of photo-ID is requested but not required when entering Moonbase Alpha, in both cases for law enforcement purposes. Stellvia also requests photo-ID from anyone remaining overnight, for hotel billing purposes.|
Moving in-system, the only tourist attractions are those found in high Venus atmosphere: the Crystal Cities and the Cloud Tours. The Crystal Cities, terraforming stations of incredible intrinsic beauty, are architectural marvels in themselves; they are also home to a large fraction of the Senshi faction of Fen. (Tourists are strongly advised to keep in mind that the vast majority of these attractive, underdressed young females are not in the "adult entertainment" industry; those who forget this often return home in an ambulance.) A few of the Crystal Cities are primarily industrial centers, and discourage tourism; other Crystal Cities, including Crystal Tokyo, open their doors to visitors. The Cloud Tours are trips into the upper atmosphere of Venus to look at the colours and patterns in the clouds, run by professional gondoliers. A mediocre guide can turn this into a waste of an afternoon; an undine can make this an adventure that tourists will tell their grandchildren about.
Between Earth and Jupiter
Moving out-system from Earth, many ships make a habit of stopping at The Island. The first Fen flying-land-mass station, The Island is as safe a place to visit as Stellvia, but (in the words of its owner) is "much more Fen in facilities, clientele, and outlook"; many Fen prefer to get no closer to Earth than The Island. On the other side of the coin, if 'Dane tourists can handle The Island emotionally, then they're probably ready for the rest of Fenspace. The Island is also home to what may be the largest shopping mall off-Earth.
The biggest tourist draw in Fenspace is the planet Mars. This planet is home to Olympus Mons, the largest mountain in the Solar System, and Valles Marineris, the deepest and longest rift valley in the Solar System. The Sand Jets of the Martian south polar region (discovered by NASA in 2006) put Earth's pure-water geysers to shame, although they only erupt during the local summer and are best viewed from a safe distance. Mars also has more than its share of 'Dane space probes; Viking, Pathfinder, Spirit, and others are still popular attractions. (Opportunity has been handwaved by a person or persons unknown, and is now a science writer with the Mars Terraforming Project.) The Cydonia Planitia is popular amongst conspiracy fans (both 'Dane and Fen), being the supposed home of the Face of Mars and the Pyramids of Mars; unfortunately, the ongoing terraforming project threatens to flood this low-lying part of Mars.
There are a large number of Fen colonies on Mars, and most of them have tourist attractions of their own. Utopia Planitia is the home of a large group of Trekkie Fen (until and unless the terraforming project floods them out sometime in the next few decades), and their Starbase 1 space station and shipyard is in areosynchronous orbit above the colony's line of latitude. The Barsoomians have built the city of Helium, with its gossamer twin towers, on the edge of the Valles Marineris. And some of the Nesters have small colonies all over Mars to support their quixotic search for native intelligent life on Mars.
One of the supposed "Pyramids of Mars" is actually the SV Gnarlycurl, a combination service station, machine shop, and convenience store with a "stone temple astronauts" motif. The Gnarlycurl spent its first half-year in Earth orbit, but it can more often be found near Mars or in the Asteroid Belt these days.
Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, have been hollowed out to support the Mars Terraforming Project. Most of Mars' traffic stops at one or the other of these moons to avoid the problems of entering a gravity well with an atmosphere. Phobos is one of the largest cities in Fenspace, with convention facilities sufficient to host thousands of people and all the supporting businesses and attractions that that implies.
If you know where to look, somewhere between The Island and the Asteroid Belt, you can find a station called Candy Apple Red's. The people who work there are in the "adult entertainment" business, and enjoy a good reputation amongst Fen who patronize such establishments.
There is very little to see in the Asteroid Belt. Contrary to decades of space-opera fiction, the density of asteroids in the Belt is very low; it's extremely unlikely that someone standing on one asteroid would be able to even see another asteroid. There are small "truck stop and diner" facilities on 1 Ceres, 3 Juno, and 2 Pallas, and an Asimovian colony "marooned off Vesta" (their words; they're actually on 4 Vesta, and host the Vesta Institutes, colleges known primarily for work in robotics and biochemistry), but none of these locations are general tourist draws.
The Outer System and Beyond
Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, has many attractions. Not only is the Great Red Spot worth seeing up-close, but the planet is home to other electrical storms with lightning bolts the size of North America; even an average gondolier can make a flyby of Jupiter exciting. But the main draws in this part of Fenspace are the Galilean moons: Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io. Casual landings on Io are strongly discouraged because of the extreme volcanic processes on the entire surface, but flybys of the moon are always exciting (not only because of the Prometheus plume, which has been erupting at least since Voyager passed by the moon in 1979). Ganymede is exciting in another way; extreme members of both the Whedonite and Juvie factions of Fen have claimed the entire moon, based on their respective namesake writers' works. (In reality, the Whedonites tend to stay in the domed towns while most Juvies are happy to be "farmers in the sky", but their rivalry is sometimes exaggerated for the tourists. When it gets out of hand, the small resident Ranger population steps in to negotiate.) Callisto is home to the Whedonite Fen who don't want to even pretend they're at odds with the Heinleinians on Ganymede; casual tourists often find the welcome on Callisto to be less forced than on Ganymede. Europa is home to many scientific teams trying to find life on the moon, so far with no success; visitors are often welcomed at these bases, but there's little to see unless you're a scientist.
Possibly the most famous natural tourist draw in the Solar System is found around Saturn: the famous Rings. For most tourists, these are best viewed from a distance; many tourists are disappointed when they finally see the rings up close. (Others find in them what they expected to see in the Asteroid Belt.) The other attraction in this part of space is Titan, one of the largest moons in the Solar System. A small gondolier company makes a steady living taking what tourists get out that far on trips around Titan, stopping at many of the scientific stations on the moon's surface.
Further out, would-be tourists find very little besides wilderness. While Uranus and Neptune have been visited by explorers and scientists, they have nothing of interest to casual visitors. Neptune's moon Triton has some natural attractions - ice volcanos and geysers that send material 8km into the air, fields of frozen nitrogen, and some spectacular ice cliffs - but there aren't yet any hostelries or tour guides on or near Triton.
The last stop before leaving the populated system is Space Station Hades, a research outpost and rest stop. Some of the research is of certain aspects of religion; Hades boasts both bizarre architecture and a large number of churches.
Beyond Neptune's orbit are the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud, which are similar to the Asteroid Belt on a larger scale, but without even the minimal infrastructure present in the Belt.
Past that is interstellar space; with one exception, only a very few scientists and self-sufficient individualists ever travel that far from Sol. That one exception is Rigil Kentaurus A, where a contingent of Trekkies have established Starbase 2, mankind's first extra-Solar colony.
Places that Don't Welcome Tourists
Certain Fenspace locations have been declared off-limits to tourism, usually for the physical safety of the would-be tourists. These include the entirety of Mercury, Io, and Pluto, and the Hephaestus mining station. (The Hidden Asteroid is also off-limits to tourism, because a flow of tourists would make it difficult to keep the asteroid hidden.) Casual travel to any of these locations is strongly discouraged.
|Is The Hidden Asteroid Really Hidden?|
|The answer to this question is an unequivocal "no." Its position in the Belt and orbital elements are all known properties, and any idiot with a copy of Celestia and twenty minutes - which is to say, every navigator in Fenspace - could use this data to find Hidden Asteroid. However, the unspoken agreement among fen is to quietly pretend that the Hidden Asteroid is, in fact, truly hidden. It's the principle of the thing, after all.|
Also, private ships and stations are just that - private. Strangers are very rarely welcomed in a person's home, no matter where the stranger hails from. The rare places that follow codes of open hospitality will make that known before people arrive; tourists should respect the privacy of other residences.
Tourism in Fenspace is controlled by the Fen. With a very small set of exceptions, mostly military, space travel outside of low-Earth orbit is controlled by the Fen for the simple reason that they own the spacecraft. Much of the tourist trade is managed by a few corporations that run large luxury-liner ships that take weeks to make trips that Fen are accustomed to making in days; some is handled by independant operators in a fashion vaugely analogous to tramp-steamer travel on early-twentieth-century Earth. At the very low end of expense and reliability, most of the Douglas Adams Fen are almost always willing to pick up a hitch-hiker or two if they have their own towels.
It's a trivial matter to find transportation near or between Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt; the vast majority of Fen can be found in this part of the Solar System. Finding room on a ship heading to Venus, Jupiter, or Saturn usually takes some advance planning, but even a casual tourist can sometimes find passage to these planets on short notice if he, she, or it is lucky.
The major impediment to tourism past Saturn is finding a ship with room for tourists going that way; no tourist is known to have had the opportunity to venture farther from Sol than Starbase 2, and those who've made it that far are very rare.