I got a call this morning from a group of high school students led by my colleague Graeme Stemp-Morlock at the University of Waterloo’s Waterloo Unlimited program.
The students interviewed me and wrote a pair of articles, one of which I’ve posted here. Check out the other piece on Graeme’s blog at http://www.graemestempmorlock.wordpress.com/.
The Family Vacation of the Future
You’ve been to Disneyland, and you’ve visited France, but where to next? For some, the answer is space. Currently, there are several private companies around the globe that are working towards making space travel available to anyone with the money.
It’s not just NASA anymore.
Before you rule out the trip based on the current cost of a suborbital trip, $200,000, Michael Belfiore, author of “Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots is Boldly Privatizing Space,” predicts that the price will plunge to the more affordable price of $10,000 within a few decades.
During orbital holidays in space, passengers would inhabit space hotels, proposed by Robert Bigelow, former millionaire real estate agent turned space entrepreneur. Encompassing the common characteristics of resorts on earth, these hotels will provide all your necessities and more. The view from your room will be out of this world.
Passengers would complete minimal training and basic medical examinations before departing on their space voyage. In contrast to the years of training NASA astronauts undergo, suborbital space tourists only need two days of training. This raises questions regarding how to handle an emergency when there is limited staff aboard the spacecraft.
According to Belfiore, space travel in moderation would not be excessively stressful on the passengers’ anatomy. Trips lasting longer than a few weeks, however, would increase the risk of bone loss, heart troubles and weakened muscles. However, researchers, not families, would be looking at these extended voyages and associated hazards.
Plus, who has that kind of vacation time?
By Paula Makela, Cathy Chen, Alexandra Dozzi, and Colleen Gilhuly