Next Destination: Space

If you are bored from drives, lakes, beaches, resorts, mountains, deserts, valleys, trenches and even underwater sea-diving and have shit ton of money in store, this article is for you. And even you don’t have that kind of money, then hang on. Hopefully, there will be cheaper space-crafts for us as well very soon. And, you would have probably guessed by now. I am talking about this new adventure sport, recently launched in market, very very recently. Last week, Richard Benson, a British Businessman in his ship virgin galactic, made a quick visit to space and another famous businessman, Jeff Bezos is ‘all set to launch’ today. They are opening what we call space-tourism for the wealthy mass of the world.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Space-tourism, as the name itself explains, refers to humans travelling to space for

  • amusement
  • diversion
  • enjoyment
  • fun
  • hobby
  • show-off
  • spending money

what-ever your reason might be, thereby making space accessible to all us non-astronauts who are clearly not interested in space for any scientific purposes, thank you very much. This isn’t the first time a space tourist has visited space. In the year 2001, US millionaire Dennis Tito PAID US $ 20 Million to travel via the Russian Soyuz spacecraft thereby visiting the international space station and even ended up spending 8 days there. There were 7 more people until 2009, before the Russian company closed off this private sale of tickets. And so, now if it makes you think about this ‘amidst nowhere’ proposals or this private floating marriage or even spending your weekend up there, it might someday be your dream come true. Just hang on there for a while, or year, or a decade, maybe.

Till now, Space Adventures was the only private company sending private customers to space. Now, there are 3 more participants in this ‘Race to the Space’- all set to explore this new venturing tourism domain with its high profits and the intense thrill that comes with it- both for the tourists as well as organizers.

  1. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic- Started in 2004, its a reusable space plane and can fly off into sub-orbital space. It uses VSS unity space-plane lifted using VSM Eve- a large carrier aircraft. A single ticket is estimated to be priced at  between $300,000 and $400,000 and offers a 2.5 hours flight with 6 min of weightlessness. The space-ship was separated 45 minutes into the flight. It can carry 6 passengers- 2 crew-persons and 4 customers.
  2. Jeff Bezos’s blue origin- Founded in 2000, it works towards vertical take-off into the sub-orbital space as well as vertical landing. It aims for an 11 minute flight after separation and a few minutes of weightlessness. It shows you the curvature of earth before returning. Blue origin flight can take up-to 6 passengers. Unlike other companies, Blue Origin works at providing holidays at affordable rates. So, look out for this one. it might very well plan your next holiday.
  3. Elon Musk’s SpaceX-This company was formed in 2002. Its dragon capsule uses a reusable Falcon rocket to launch itself into space. It is capable of carrying up-to 7 people. The mission is expected to last 3-4 days.

Space tourism has a very high significance in the near future. Seeing the number of millionaires and billionaires across the world, the market is estimated to comprise nearly 2.4 million people in the near future and is a boost to the world economy. And who knows, maybe space tourism might even help us to expand life throughout the space and find us a new place to live in this infinite space. But whatever it may do in this regard, it is bound to increase our interest in space exploration and we might as well make an engineer or a scientist out of it or a wonderful sci-fi and maybe the next world-hit movie. Success of this industry will bring in investments that will lead to development of more advanced technologies in the future. And if we are unable to find somewhere to live, we might end up making one for ourselves. Who knows?

With this rosy picture, painted in our minds, we need to loo at the harms it offers to not only us but the already degraded-due-to-human-activity- “EARTH”. The soot or black carbon that is emitted by rockets gets accumulated in the stratosphere and cannot be washed away by rains and wind and hence, will stay in this region of the atmosphere for years thereby causing serious damage as well as causing elements to escape the earth’s recycling process. After a particular height when we escape the earth’s atmosphere or in the region where the atmosphere thins we are exposed to harmful radiations and solar flares. Also travelling via a space craft can affect our vision, cognition, balance and motor control. The industry has just begun. It might lack the necessary safety equipment or might avoid them in the absence of safety protocols.

The space is a dangerous area we are willing to venture. Before further developments in this field, we need to ask ourselves if space is even meant for humans? Or if we haven’t done enough damage to nature and our surroundings as it is? Is it all worth the harms it offers? Can we do without it? And if we can’t, isn’t it better to leave it to those experts who might extract a lot more than just fun out of it?