Today at work we talked about space tourism and I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about space tourism. To me it just sounds like some far off futuristic Jetsons idea. But, as it turns out, space tourism is not as far off as I had imagined.
Have you heard of Virgin Galactic? Yes, Virgin as in Virgin Atlantic, the airline/music/who knows what else company. Now, they have decided to get their hands into space travel. What happened to the old days when companies just stayed with one product, one area? But I digress.
Virgin Galactic is currently in the planning stages of space travel as a recreational activity. If you visit their website www.virgingalactic.com you can get a full explanation of what it’s like to go to space, how you’re trained, as well as a plethora of other information. You can even see a picture of the vehicle that will take you to outer space. The website makes it sound as though space travel is fun, easy, and not to be missed- never mind the fact that you’re looking at paying $200,000 for ten minutes in zero gravity.
The whole thing reminds me, strangely enough, of Jurassic Park. And we all know how that ended for the majority of the visitors. And even though Jurassic Park is complete fiction and space tourism is not, it was not that long ago that space tourism was also simply a figment of our imaginations. I also can’t help but be reminded of the Challenger and the idea to send ordinary people into space. That also ended in tragedy, real tragedy, not just a fictionalized version of tragedy. Of course it was not the fault of any of the crew members of the Challenger, but if NASA ignored the strong recommendations against launching, how much more would a private, for-profit company also ignore those same kinds of warnings for fear of losing profit?
As amazing as going to space sounds, I think it should be left in the government’s hands. I’d love to hear other opinions.