Seattle’s Space Needle turned 50 over the last weekend – a fitting moment, while standing on the cusp of “space tourism,” to cast our glance backward to historical visions of the future at tourist destinations. As NPR’s All Things Considered reported, its flying saucer-like, rotating observation deck retains its futuristic appeal desire the tower’s antiqueness (indeed, it is now eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places). Tourist attractions have long provided showcases for visions of the future. Nowhere has this forward-looking utopian sensibility been more carefully packaged than in the spate of world’s fairs between the 1890s and 1960s. Most of the visions simply expanded on emergent technologies such as electricity, but some were truly out of this world. The Pan-American…