Tag Archives: space tourism

Can we all become astronauts?

Last month, the world celebrated 50 years since the first manned spaceflight, by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Yuri became the first man in space after completing a single orbit of Earth on the Soviet spacecraft Vostok, in April 1961 (at the Science Museum we actually have a fantastic drama event about Yuri’s incredible journey).

Last month, a lot of people also went on holiday for the Easter period. We traveled by plane, on trains and by water. Technology has developed by leaps and bounds since Yuri first saw the Earth from above, likewise, so has our desire to visit faraway destinations; people now take holidays abroad for granted.

Once upon a time those faraway destinations were mapped by explorers, before tourists followed in their footsteps… Deserts were crossed, mountains were conquered, lives were lost to chart the rainforests. But it wasn’t long ’til curious amateur adventurers also found their way to these once-unknown places.

Space appears to be no different. Virgin Galactic is currently taking bookings for their space flights, so any of us can be an astronaut! Well, any of us healthy and wealthy enough to afford that $200,000 ticket.

Holidays in space for everyone?

Seeing the Earth from above has changed people’s lives. Jim Lovell, who was on the Apollo 8 and 13 missions, has said “It gives you in an instant…(an idea of) how insignificant we are, how fragile we are, and how fortunate we are to have a body that will allow us to enjoy the sky and the trees and the water.” And Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist to visit the International Space Station in 2006, announced that “if people can see Earth from up here, see it without those borders, see it without any differences in race or religion, they would have a completely different perspective. Because when you see it from that angle, you cannot think of your home or your country. All you can see is one Earth.”

Earth from space

Earth from space

Perhaps it is something we could all benefit from experiencing- in fact, could it one day be a right just like education? So how long will it be before holidays in space really become commonplace? And should there be a low-cost alternative for those of us who don’t mind a little less legroom?

Holidays in Space?

A trip on a Virgin Galactic sub orbital space flight next year will set you back at least $200,000 …..we can all dream! But will these trips ever be affordable and should public money be used to fund them?

Zero gravity

Zero gravity

A report published this week recommends that Britain invests more money in the space industry in order to take advantage of key market opportunities including space tourism.

Take advantage of the current media coverage to run a discussion lesson on space tourism.

Some ideas to get your students thinking…

  • How far could a space tourism trip take you?
  • How long will it be before we can book a hotel on the moon or holiday on Mars?
  • How much risk are the public willing to take? What if there was an accident?
  • Do you need to be as fit as an astronaut to go?
  • What is the carbon footprint of a trip into space?

The increasing public interest in space travel may well be of a benefit to scientists doing research by making extra funding available. However, it could also be a hindrance if there was an increase in health and safety scares linked to space exploration or  if funding gets diverted away from research and invested in space tourism instead.

To get your class discussing this topic you could get groups to each research a different area and follow this with mixed group discussions using the marketplace format. Run a search on space tourism on the web to find multiple news articles and websites with both sides to the story.

As part of the Exploring the Universe Theme Day at the Science Museum on 17th May the Talk Science team will be running a discussion activity on Space tourism for secondary school groups. To book or for more information give our friendly bookings team a call on 020 7942 4777.