We know that there’s a lot of research and work being carried out on making it possible for us to live on the moon. But will the moon ever become a holiday destination?
Let’s find out.
NASA and Elon Musk are both hopeful that they will be able to colonize Mars by the end of the 21st century. So it won’t come as a surprise that the moon is expected to become a holiday destination in just “a few years,” according to a bunch of billionaires.
July 20 will mark the 51st anniversary of Apollo 11 touching down on the moon and the first time Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked on the satellite. Now, half a century later, scientists are hopeful that in less than a decade vacationers looking for an escape destination may be relaxing in the Sea of Tranquility. However, you won’t be able to find it on Google Maps, which is fine since you can see it just as easily when you peak out of your window at night.
The Mare Tranquillitatis, or the Sea of Tranquility, is the basalt formation on the moon which also served as the landing site for Armstrong and Aldrin in 1969.
Relaxing in this “sea” may be possible since famous billionaires are now investing in aerospace projects that can help make the moon a feasible destination for anyone who wants to have an out-of-this-world experience for their vacation.
What Does NASA Say About Moon Vacationing?
Steven Lee Smith, a former astronaut working for NASA has suggested that space tourism will become as commonplace as going to vacation destination via an airplane. He also added that naturally, in the first few years when commercial flights to moon become available, the price range will be very high for most of the people to take advantage of a lunar vacation.
On a hopeful note, he added, that it was the same thing when airplane flights became commercially available in 1914, but the price will decrease as more and more people journey to the moon and space travel becomes a normal thing.
Aside from moon tourism, NASA is preparing to send its first woman and the next man to the moon by 2024 in its Artemis mission.
Moreover, the space agency also has plans for additional lunar missions every year thereafter. In fact, taking things to the next level, NASA will also be launching a mission to Mars in the mid-30s and there will be astronauts in the planet in the next decades.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic
In fact, Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group is already planning to launch multiple flying ships into space for space tourism purposes. The CEO has already sold 600 tickets in advance to those interested in the other-worldly venture for a whopping $250,000.
Last February, the billionaire business mogul launched the VSS Unity ship into space 100 kilometers above the Earth. Virgin Galactic is already planning to offer suborbital flights, including several minutes of zero gravity experience for its guests. By 2050, vacationers can enter the stratosphere and see the Earth from an entirely new perspective.
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin May Take You To the Next Level
The founder of Amazon is the richest man in the world by most estimates. When you have money in excess of 100 billion, what do you do with it? Turns out, you open up a sub orbital space flight company.
Currently, Blue Origin is building a rocket which can house six passengers and large windows that can give the passengers a panoramic view of the Earth from outer space. Anyone can reserve a seat on the website, although Bezos’ team has not released when the actual take-off will happen and how much will it cost per seat.
Elon Musk and SpaceX
Of course, no discussion about space travel is complete without Elon Musk and his company SpaceX. So far, Musk’s rockets have been less about space tourism and more about cargo missions. However, Musk did admit it would be “pretty cool” to see people going in space with his Crew Dragon spaceship.
In 2018, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa announced that he will become the first ever civilian to go for a moon tourism. If this happens soon, Maezawa will become the 25th person to orbit the moon. There are no plans for him to make a landing on the moon.
Will the moon become a holiday destination and will space tourism involve a stop to the moon. If this happens, it will be a pastime for the uber-rich, if you follow the example of Dennis Tito who paid $20 million to fly to the International Space Station and become the first space tourist in 2001.
Moon Ride: A Flight of Fancy Or A Potential to Become a Tourism Industry
Researchers at the Swiss bank UBS say that space tourism has huge potential to become reality and predicts that by 2030, it will become a $800 billion industry.
In fact, the future is already here. The bank reported last year that people who are interested in going to space can have an out-of-this-world experience right here on Earth for just $5000. People can have a weightless experience on a traditional plane; however any trips to the moon can cost about $150 million.
So, anyone who is expecting to have a honeymoon on the moon needs to be a billionaire.
NASA’s Internationals Space Stations Missions
As of now, NASA is allowing up to two private astronaut mission to the ISS every year via its Commercial Creq program like Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and the SpaceX Dragon. The individual cost per night stay at the ISS will amount to about $35,000 and will include essential life support systems like toilet and food supply. People have to pay an extra fee for baggage or what is called the Cargo Transfer Bag Equivalent as well as use of Wi-Fi.
However, this price does not include the airfare which is the cost of the rocket launch and the return flight to Earth, which can cost about $60 million for one person or even more
In time, it is expected that the cost of space tourism will come down to something most other people will be able to afford. But considering the huge price initially, it doesn’t seem like it will be so for many, many years, realistically speaking.
People who are raring to jump on the space shuttle should be forewarned though: it will take an average of one week to travel around the moon and come back to Earth. This can feel like a very long time if you are stuck in a small capsule. So make sure to bring some form of entertainment as well as patience with you.
Ultimately, the main goal of this program is to offset the running cost of ISS which is between $3 to $4 billion per year. But it also serves to find out whether a tourism industry in space is viable, which means there is a chance we might find Jetsons-style space hotels orbiting the Earth or even the moon in years to come. So to answer the question, will the moon ever become a holiday destination? There’s a chance it will.