Space as a future tourist destination has been an idea that has existed ever since humans stepped onto the surface of the moon. Stephen Hawking, world celebrated theoretical physicist, and other scientists believe that humans would first have to colonize planetary bodies like the moon before they attempt to conquer space. Many people think that making the moon a tourist destination could be a good way of colonizing it.
There may not be much to see on the moon’s surface, however, other than rocks and craters and probably a clearer view of the stars. Consequently, it seems logical that most people would rather spend their hard-earned money going to the Bahamas than going to space just to get an elevated view of the earth and the sun. Even if people were to go to the moon as tourists, they will spend most of their time inside the spaceship that took them there in the first place. Additionally, when they get a chance to go outside they will be constrained in stuffy and ridiculous looking spacesuits. There will be no idle hours spent getting a tan or showing the fruits of the long hours spent at the gym.
However, there is much more to space than simply a future tourist destination to stare back at the sun and the blue hue of the earth. A trip to space is not just a sightseeing opportunity. It is a step into the future and a statement that humans are finally on their way to conquering the universe. So far only astronauts and astrophysicists have experienced the wonders of space. Through their efforts, the world now has clear images of Mars, Venus and most of the other planets in the solar system. Thus, they are the only ones who truly bear the burden of selling space to the world.
A couple of ships carrying people other than astronauts into the edge of the
atmosphere would increase the number of believers in the possibility of space tourism. These new converts would travel back home and tell of the wonders of their experience, and perhaps humanity will forget their conflicts and look upwards into the cosmos. Then maybe space funding will increase, and a Space Rover will be sent to other moons like Europa. Space Adventures, a Russian company, sent private citizens to space from 2001 to 2009.
Richard Branson’s Virgin mega empire also has plans to transport people beyond earth’s atmosphere. According to Branson, Virgin Galactic will fly 500 people later this year using their “Space Ship Two” vehicle. Each of these passengers has already paid close to $212,000 for the trip. In later years, the price will hopefully be lowered as competition increases, but for now only the super-rich can afford the trip.
Another commercial firm, Bigelow Aerospace, is working together with Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) to build off-world habitations that could be used as hotels in the future.These habitations are inflatable and built to endure the rough conditions in space . Space X co-founder Elon Musk is looking past the moon and plans to ship 80,000 people to Mars. Experts say that these exploration endeavors will only succeed if the space vacations are affordable.
However, taking a few people to space in the future as a tourist destination is easy when compared to a similar journey to the moon’s surface. For instance, to survive on the moon, humans will need a reliable supply of water and oxygen. Scientists have been looking for water in the moon’s polar craters for for a long time, but have found nothing yet. Additionally, transporting water to the moon would be a very expensive and strategically complex venture. So the moon as a tourist destination still remains only a dream.
Opinion by Michael Obunga