Fly Me to the Moon: Off-Planet Tourism Looms

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Still not convinced the moon landings weren’t faked? That the moon isn’t made out of cheese? That it’s not a giant disembodied man-face, floating free of earthly tethers? Why not hop a space capsule and see for yourself?

You’d have to be filthy rich to spring for a ticket, but say you’re flush and fearless: private space tourism entrepreneur U.S. Space Adventures would love to oblige. All it has to do is convince our Russian space pals to add more living space to their Russian Soyuz TMA spaceship–enough, that is, for eight-day commercial flights around the moon.

In fact it sounds like they’ve already done it:

“After consultation with Rocket Space Corporation Energia, modifications to the Soyuz TMA configuration have been agreed upon,” said a Space Adventures spokesperson (via RIA Novosti). “The most important is the addition of a second habitation module to the Soyuz TMA lunar complex.”

How much for a trip to the moon and back? Try a cool $150 million or so a seat. Contrast with the reported $20 to $35 million tourists have paid for rides to the International Space Station. Talk about the few, the proud, and the haut monde.

The world’s sixth space tourist and Vice Chairman of USSA, Richard Garriott (formerly of Ultima computer game fame) says one of two tourist seats for a trip around the moon is already spoken for. If the company can sell seat number two soon, the trip could take place as early as 2015.