Space tourism: A useful venture or a waste of money?

In two years time, $4 million could earn you a trip to outer space. In 2012, Galactic Suite is set to begin accommodating guests at the first hotel in space. According to the article on Yahoo, guests will spend eight weeks training for the trip on an island in the Caribbean. Following the training, the trip to space will take a day and a half. Guests will spend three days in the resort—wearing Velcro suits in order to stick to the walls. The Barcelona-based company will launch guests into space via Russian rockets.

I found this topic quite suitable for my final face-to-face topic because it expressed what we have been talking about and researching throughout the semester: The future. This future is very real, and in many ways we are already living it. Five years ago, a hotel in space would seem impossible. It still seems implausible now. It is unimaginable to think that space tourism could become a booming industry.

When I read about the upcoming space resort I was excited about the opportunities available, such as the fact that guests could orbit earth in 80 minutes, seeing 15 sunsets each day, or that this resort could make space travel more accessible to the general public (well, the general public who has $4 million dollars to spare).

And that brings me to my concerns. The cost is obviously a big one. If space tourism does catch on, the cost will likely decrease significantly, but at the moment there are very few people who can afford the expensive vacation. But affording it is one thing. Who has the time to take eight weeks off of work to complete a space-training program?  Billionaires, apparently.

Aside from cost, I also have concerns about safety. These issues are not addressed on the Web site. If disastrous accidents can occur for professional astronauts, then surely they can happen with a rocket full of civilians. I am curious as to how the rocket will attach to the resort, as well as how expensive it would be to maintain the structure in space.

As reported on Yahoo, 43 guests have made reservations so far, and Galactic Suite is currently accepting reservations from their Web site.

While I think that success with this project is beneficial to those interested in space and space training, the cost and safety concerns make me wonder if some things should just be left to the professionals.

It will be interesting to watch the progress of this project, as well as competing space travel companies, such as Virgin Galactic.





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