NASA announced that they had located a new solar system dubbed Trappist-1. The solar system is made up of seven earth like planet which the guys at NASA have a relatively good chance of being able to maintain human life.

Great when do we get to meet them? We won’t, not in our lifetime. The solar system is 40 light years away and barring a major scientific breakthrough of epic proportions we aren’t getting to Trappist-1 anytime soon.

The TRAPPIST-1 system illustrated by NASA

However, NASA displayed a really cool space tourism poster during the announcement. This got our inner travellers thinking once we have finished travelling planet Earth, will we soon be in a situation to travel to other planets?

So, let’s have a look at the space tourism industry to see what options out there are.

1. Space: The Final Frontier

Space tourism is a relatively new phenomenon. In the last few years, we have seen a rise in companies offering space travel to tourist. So what exactly is it? In a nutshell, it is space travel for recreational or leisure purposes.

Startups like Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace are among the small few that can boast being planet earth first spacelines!

Over a period of 8 years, 7 tourists made the trip to outer space, with the last flight happening in 2009. These travellers flew aboard Russian space crafts for a reported fee of between 20-50 million USD. That is a fairly big spread and even at the lower end, most people won’t be able to afford it (any millionaires out there get in touch).

However, if you don’t have a spare 20 million lying around there is still hope. Suborbital rockets will allow flights to space also. Keeping in mind space begins 50 km from the earth, a suborbital flight will likely carry you around 130 km. While this may be a way off just yet, but one astronaut reckons it will be as cheap as $10,000 to fly within the next ten years.

2. Mars One: A Project To Conquer The Red Planet

Want to go somewhere exotic? How about Mars? It really doesn’t get more exotic than that. Someone already had this idea and has put a plan together to send a team to Mars. Dubbed Mars One the project aims to place a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2032. The selection process for this team started in 2013 and drew a massive response of 200,000 candidates.

Now in the 3rd round of selections, there are a mere hundred applicants left. The trip is insanely long taking 7 months to land and there is no way of getting these pioneers home at present. There are technology companies looking into ways of getting these people home, but for now, it is a one-way ticket.

The settlement will already be set up the time humans get there. A rover will be deployed to pick out a suitable spot before deploying living pod and food (don’t expect 5 stars). The travellers aren’t a tourist in any sense other than the fact that they are excited by the prospect of exploration.

With that said, what is to say once they have broken this new ground that there won’t is space for a few more of us over there?


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