WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
The cost of space travel is collapsing thanks to new technology and new blood in the industry, and soon you too could explore the vastness of our universe.
If Jeff Bezos has his way, and he probably will, then soon it’s likely you’ll be packing up your Amazon Kindle, saying goodbye to your Amazon Alexa, and selling your house to fund your trip into space as one of the world’s first space tourists. Yes, for the cool sum of just $200,000 to $300,000, according to a Reuters report, you could secure your seat on board of one of Bezos’ Blue Origin’s New Shepard rockets and head skyward into the blackness of space…
Cue the futuristic music.
The rocket would take passengers to suborbital space to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth, something that frankly I see every time I go to the beach, and once you’re done the rocket will bring you and your six co-passengers safely back to Earth.
This is the claim from two people with knowledge of the space program’s pricing, Reuters says.
Ferrying passengers to space is still a ways off for Blue Origin though, and for a mere $200,000 instead you could also choose to travel to Mars courtesy of Elon Musks’ SpaceX plan to put a million people on the Red Planet starting from 2024.
Blue Origin has now completed eight test flights including landing the rocket vertically, but has yet to strap a human into one of the seats, but that’s apparently coming within weeks, one employee is quoted on saying in the Reuters’ report.
Blue Origin and Elon Musk aren’t the only billionaires selling tickets to space though. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic says it has sold about 650 $250,000 tickets to space aboard its craft that recently under went its own tests, and whose launch dates have yet to be announced.
Bezos’s space ambitions are larger than space tourism though. In May, speaking at the Space Development Conference in Los Angeles with the inimitable Alan Boyle, Bezos chatted about the idea of making the moon a center for heavy industry, which he thinks will help conserve resources here on Earth. When the time comes, he hopes that lunar residence and industry will be a shared privilege, with countries working together in a “lunar village” and combining their strengths rather than testing them against one another.
As for me though I think it’s time we did away with the old Star Trek tagline of “Space, the final frontier,” and updated it to “Space, the billionaires playground.”
“Alexa, find a pet sitter for the cat and book me a ticket to ride…”