Why space tourism? – Geospatial world
Two in place, one pending. Of the three billionaires who had announced their plans for private space incursions, Richard Branson was the first to come off the block. Jeff Bezos followed nine days later, while Elon Musk has yet to announce his launch schedule. Reservations are open for the world’s wealthy to afford a few minutes of space adventure, with tickets priced from $200,000 to $250,000. It’s the thrill, the “I’ve been there” moment for selfies that probably excites those who can afford it. “It’s my money and I decide how to spend it,” they seem to suggest.
Space exploration has come a long way since the launch of Sputnik more than six decades ago. Man first set foot on the moon in 1969 and vigorously explored the solar system and beyond. There are ambitious plans for the supply of minerals, as well as the colonization of other planets, Mars being the favorite. Since the fierce space race of the Cold War era, nations have now resorted to collaboration in space with the avowed mission of benefiting humanity. The more than two-decade-old International Space Station project is an example of this cooperation. However, few countries can afford the luxury of space exploration, with only 10 having annual space expenditures above $1 billion. NASA has by far the largest budget at $25 billion, which is close to the spending of all other nations combined.