A space holiday is as futuristic a holiday as can be imagined, until that is, one of the world’s trillionnaires decides to delve deep into the earth’s core for, what else, a grounded leisure experience. For the time being, the world’s rich are headed up, up and away. By 2012, Robert Bigelow, the man behind the first hotel in the Milky Way, hopes to float (if you’ll pardon the pun) a four-week stay in space at about $ 15 million. Add to that about $ 20 million a ticket via the Russian Space Agency to get there and no prizes for guessing whether this will be billed as a luxury trip. Interestingly, flights are already booked until 2009 for short individual sojourns. For those who don’t know their Mars from their Mercury, Santosh George Kulangara from Kerala is going to be the first Indian space tourist.
For the more down-to-earth, the prospect of a space flight raises many questions. Will they have to chase their food in space? And apart from being a free floater looking down on Earth, mesmerised, what would you do drifting around in dark nothingness? And how comfortable will the stay be when the walls of the inflatable space hotel are expected to be, er, flexible. But these are questions for the fainthearted.
Such questions should have been answered by images from the Fly Your Stuff proposal that is part of the unmanned hotel-in-space programme. Interested space-watchers sent out their stuff for $ 300 apiece. They’re waiting for the digitised images of their stuff flying around. Sadly, the first set of images didn’t quite come around, because, well, the cameras failed. Ground control, anyone?