Space tourism holds a lot of promise

Published on : Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Space tourismLoretta Hidalgo is a self-described space geek who trained as an astrobiologist. She had even wished for honeymooning in space. To quote Hidalgo, “Astronauts report a really profound experience of connectedness with their home planet and everything on it. You don’t see political borders from space. Now is the perfect time to get that message out that we all share the spaceship Earth. Learning how to work peacefully on it is the task of our generation.”

She was among the three speakers on “Space Tourism for Fun and Profit” panel at the University of Colorado’s Conference on World Affairs. Along with her husband, space tourism company Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides, Loretta was among the few very first to buy tickets for a Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceflight.

Although she hasn’t been to the space yet, she’s prepared by traveling to the ocean floor in a submersible similar to a rocket and gone on 80 flights on zero-gravity planes, spending more than five hours weightless, 30 seconds at a time.

According to panelist Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, “It sounds frivolous, but tourism may be the biggest economic driver in getting more people into space.” He said that commercializing space travel should have the same benefits like commercializing flight.

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