Depending on who is asked, the views of space tourism can vary wildly.Some believe that it is nothing more than a vanity project for rich billionaires who want new toys.
But there are others who view it as a necessary and crucial milestone for the human race.And they do not see it merely as conquering space, but as a way for the exploration of space to have a lasting impact on art, culture and society.
What is Space Tourism?
The concept of space tourism is simple – people would pay money for a seat on flights into space. These trips could go to the International Space Station or the moon.
And even though the concept may seem far-fetched, a lot of work and money has gone into making space tourism viable. Organization such as Blue Origin and SpaceX are working very hard to create the technology needed to make space flights a common occurrence.
High Cost for a Seat
Going into space would not be cheap, at least initially. There is no way to know how much a seat would cost five or ten years into space tourism. But the initial estimates suggest that paying anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 would be necessary.
While it is certainly limited to those who are wealthy, such sums put space travel in reach for a lot more people. The current group of people who have experienced space is extremely small. Space tourism would change all that.
Critics of Space Tourism
Many people view space tourism as an unnecessary project that is only serving to waste money. They believe that billionaires such as Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk could do a lot more for humanity if they were putting billions into projects that lifted people out of poverty or improved our impact on the environment.
Why It May Be Necessary
Those who support space tourism do not just do it because it is exciting. They believe that getting people into space, even if it is the wealthy, can bring about positive change on earth. Scientists such as Neil deGrasse Tyson have long spoken about the positive impact of space travel.
He cited new science fiction stories, technological advancements, environmentalism and other benefits related to space travel. The idea is that when people get to experience space, their view of the world and their place in it may change. Not only do these people get to see space, but they will get to see earth as it looks from the space station or the moon.
And many astronauts have spoken in the past about how their world view was impacted by seeing earth from space for the first time. The idea that earth is nothing more than a pale blue dot can be humbling.
Those who are willing to put up with the obscene costs of setting up a space tourism program believe those costs are worth it in the long run. When hundreds of thousands of people have been into space, compared to just a handful, the way earth and humanity is perceived may change for good.