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Would You Go Into Space?

Buzz Poole
08/02/2011 - 00:00

On July 21, 2011, the space shuttle Atlantis touched down safely in Florida, ending a remarkable chapter in US and global history. Perusing the National Geographic website, I happened upon these great photographs shot by Philip Scott Andrews. Short of actually taking a ride on a shuttle, Andrews has documented aspects of the shuttle program very few people get to see. I’ve never seen a shuttle launch in person, but these images really drive home the immense scale of these vehicles; they also really make clear how delicate and precise NASA has to be when it comes to propelling people into space.

With the same flair Sir Richard Branson applies to all of his endeavors, Virgin Galactic is no doubt the flashiest, most high-profile space tourism company. If you want to go into space and have $20,000 to put down as a deposit against the $200,000 fare, book your spot now and consider yourself a “future astronaut.”

Bigelow Aerospace, which is affiliated with Boeing, is developing a “turn-key” space station experience: “Whether you are a sovereign nation developing an astronaut program, a corporation interested in microgravity research, or an individual with a desire to experience space, we can help you achieve your goals.”

If simply orbiting Earth doesn’t cut it for you, Space Adventures is vying to send the first tourist to the moon (though they’ve already sent several people into space).

Doubtless, some day space travel will be as common as flying on airplanes. But even if the technology and economics of heading into space make going up beyond the wild blue yonder accessible to middle class people, I’m not so sure it’s a trip I’d make. In twenty years I’m sure there will still be plenty of places on this planet that I’d like to visit.

How about you? Would you go into space if given the opportunity?

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