Fun Time: Space Tourism: Are You Ready For It?
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took a Blue Origin rocket into space, just a week after fellow billionaire Richard Branson flew a Virgin Galactic plane into space. While these space trips may seem like self-aggrandizing indulgences by a pair of tycoons, they’re also ushering in the era of commercial space travel. Indeed, Virgin Galactic plans to offer regular commercial space flights beginning in 2022. In case you are interested in such flights, I’ve decided to answer five important questions about space travel:
1. How much will it cost to buy a ticket to space? Virgin Galactic has already sold about 600 tickets at a price of about $250,000, but the price is expected to increase to about $300,000. This means, of course, that at my current annual savings rate, I will be able to afford a ticket to space in the year 2171. Hopefully my ticket will be much cheaper by then, especially since I will be traveling inside an urn.
Space tourism, at least initially, will be accessible only to the ultra-rich, as well as those who are somewhat wealthy and willing to forgo some other luxuries to make a once-in-a-lifetime journey to space. A number of Americans, for example, will be able to afford a space trip just by cutting back on spa treatments for their dogs.
2. What will you be able to experience from space? For starters, space travel will allow you to experience weightlessness. You will feel extremely light, and not just because your wallet is much lighter. For the few minutes that you enter space, you will escape the force of gravity and be able to perform astronaut tricks such as flips or spins. But don’t get carried away. Take some time to look out the window, assuming you have a window seat. Even if you don’t have a window seat, weightlessness will enable you to easily push other people out of the way.
3. What will you be able to see through the window? There are many things you will be able to see from space. Here are just three: (1) The seven continents of the world; (2) the mountains, including Mount Everest; and (3) Priyanka Chopra’s engagement ring.
Actually, the main thing you will be able to see is the entire planet, which will look like a large football. “It’s, for lack of a better term, a God’s-eye view, and so few people have ever had a chance to see it,” former NASA astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski told Travel and Leisure magazine. “It’s really a beautiful thing to be hovering in space and looking down at your planet.”
If you enjoy looking down at other people, just imagine how much fun you’ll have looking down at the entire planet!
4. Will you be able to take photographs? Yes, you will be able to take photos, but you shouldn’t waste your precious minutes in space getting your camera to focus, unless you’ve been hired by a magazine or newspaper. Not only will it be challenging to take good photos while also handling your weightlessness, you are better off savoring the sights that you paid a fortune to view.
5. If you don’t take photos, how will other people know that you’ve been in space? Don’t worry—you will be able to take lots of photos on your way up and on your way down. Your travel operator will also take many photos of you in space. You will also have a ticket that you can frame, so your descendants can remember you as the 8,354th human to go into space. If you are lucky, you may have an even greater distinction, such as “First Space Traveler from Dharosyamsundarpur village in Cuttack district, Odisha.”
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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