Thursday, March 23, 2006

Some People Call Me The Space Tourist, Yeah

A single crash in 30 years ended the Concorde’s run. Costs were just too prohibitive to keep it flying.

So then, how long will it be before the budding “space tourism” industry comes crashing down to reality?

I think too many Hollywood movies have caused people to take the concept of space travel lightly. I’m not sure it’s something anyone should be doing just for zero-gravity grins.

Actual astronauts undergo extensive training before making the leap into space, and the handful of civilians who’ve paid the Russians to take them into space have at least had a crash course, for lack of a better expression.

The only requirement for the coming breed of space tourists seems to be a lot of money.
Some people apparently have too much of it and little idea what to do with it.

True, commercial spacecraft will only reach the edge of space, so issues like superheated reentry into the earth’s atmosphere aren’t as big a concern as they are for, say, NASA. But that’s still a long way up, and all the hazards of conventional air travel and then some apply.

And consider this: The most realistic space-oriented theme park ride going, as certified by real astronauts, has already killed a couple of people.

I'm as intrigued by the idea of space travel as anyone. A couple of minutes of nausea-inducing weightlessness do not an astronaut make, however. The commercial space travel industry and its patrons should proceed with the caution and respect due such a potentially consequential endeavor.

26 comments:

The Flabbergasted Heathen said...

Bogs, look at the up side.

These people are going to pay a good deal of money to test out an emerging technology. No, this isn't true space flight, but the advances that they make will make real commercial space flight both safer and cheaper.

I'm shooting for a moon condo myself.

On a side note...you find those firms that are willing to sell you a piece of the moon or Mars. If you buy up some prime real estate on mars, could you bring criminal or civil litigation against NASA for littering or trespassing?

Pete Bogs said...

that's a good point, flab - let's call it the "guinea pig" scenario...

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

some call me the gansta of love!
but never maurice.

heathen's right. let a bunch of movie stars be the guinea pigs. i heard victoria principal wants to go, course she's not really a movie star is she? more like a QVC star, but, hey, it's a good start. now if we can just put clooney on board......

BTW do you know what "pompities" are, bogs?

/howl

Pete Bogs said...

k9 - no, but here's someone who may:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a4_065.html

The Flabbergasted Heathen said...

Personally, I think it would be great to send an inflatable coffee shop to Mars ahead of a NASA probe.

Litte rover is trolling along, pans the camera and sees...a Starbucks!

Jack K. said...

flab, I just love the Starbucks plan.

Pete Bogs said...

yeah, it must be called "Starbucks" for a reason, eh? you just know the planets will be renamed once commercial space travel takes off... Verizon Wireless Presents Pluto... Ameriquest Presents Venus... and so on...

presidentbobo said...

Bogs,
I know I am not the only one trying to think of a snappy reply so let me just ask the question and leave the clever replies to sharper wits than mine.
Which "corporate sponsor" will sign on to present Uranus?

The Flabbergasted Heathen said...

presidentbobo - Why, KY Warming Liquid of course!

I was think of actually setting up a Starbucks, but figured the inflatable one would be easier, and still have the same effect.

Pete Bogs said...

Preparation-H Presents Uranus

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

K9 Industries presents: Pluto

/grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

ChasingMoksha said...

It seems instead of solving problems where a person is, they look for the great frontier as a ticket out. It is sad really.

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

bogs thanks for the link i read the full story. i figured as much, but never dreamed "pompatus" would consume great areas of brain storage wondering about it for years in others, as it has mine.

moksha,
without making a moral judgement on the action itself, the whole of human history is about expansion. maybe we are biologically hard wired for it.

/grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

presidentbobo said...

Moksha makes an interesting point. Bogs alluded to the fact that wealthy space tourists don't seem to know what to do with all their riches. I think Moksha is saying that those funds could be put to better use here. I tend to agree and I think that way about space programs in general. All that money could be put to much better use - IMHO.

Pete Bogs said...

to k9's point, I do think the need for exploration is part of man's makeup... it's unfortunate that it has manifested itself in ways such as invasion and subjugation of indigenous cultures, etc.

but, with regard to space, I am still in awe every time we put a ship up there... and just looking at the stars can be endlessly fascinating... but let's not trivialize space either... it's a vacuum... it requires all manner of sophisticated and expensive equipment to get there and stay alive there... and returning from it can be deadly without the right shielding, or even the correct trajectory... the cliche about "no rocket scientists" alludes to the fact that you have to be absolutely brilliant to make space flight a reality... don't think it's easy, or again, that it should be taken lightly...

Jack K. said...

pres b, that is the question all America should be asking.

How about the RNC?

Karen said...

"The only requirement for the coming breed of space tourists seems to be a lot of money"...

...which your average *joe* doesn't have so looks like it's gonna be a bored rich man's idea of fun until the price becomes =affordable=, then, who knows!

ffff said...

I think maybe exploration could now take the form of molecular exploration. It is a pity the need to 'explore' has to be the 'big' things. Maybe by spending the money on the minute things we could go further than we could ever imagine. Wanting to 'invade' space is a pie-in-the-sky big boys toy.

Pete Bogs said...

karen - true, and it won't be a transportation method, just a "spin" in near-space for the time-being... a big, expensive trip to nowhere...

ali - what, you're suggesting we use all that money to do research that could help us cure diseases? it must be all that time standing upside down in the southern hemisphere that's gotten to your head... ;-)

Bonnie Parker said...

Hello... just takin' a look at you blog... as you did to mine last night. Nice... lots of beer... Be my guest to return anytime. And yes, we're alive.

fatty ~ said...

NASA is an important influence here. NASA, being funded by the tax-payer is responsible for ensuring the no private corporation makes it into space.

By undercutting the offers of any profit-making companies to make a loss. As companies need to cover overheads and make a profit, they can never compete with a corporation that can run at a huge loss and no need for profitablity and productivity

Blue said...

I think they should put convict settlements out there - solves any arguements about the death penalty :-)

fatty ~ said...

also,

there is a UN agreement or something that no country/nation can claim a moon or planet in their name. But nothing has been said about private ownership. So a guy actually just declared ownership of the moon, and then cut it up into blocks to sell to others.

Pete Bogs said...

bb - wherever would an Aussie get the idea to send convicts to a prison far, far away from their homes? ;-)

fatty - given the chance, mankind will militarize space (Reagan's SDI plan) and commercialize it as well... sadly, inevitable...

Jack K. said...

There was an ethics article in our paper this morning. The primary point was the world wide market for organs. Once again the rich exploit the poor for kidneys, etc. So why can't they buy there way into space?

The rich get richer and the poor lose their ass. Almost literally.

Ah well! It's nothing but choices and consequenes.

ttfn

Ben said...

Look at it like this...

100 years ago: airplanes.

Today: World is a village.

100 years from now: ???