Why do not we see extra strange individuals going into area?
This query jogs my memory of an episode of The Simpsons. Annoyed by the dearth of public enthusiasm for the US area program, NASA decides to drum up assist by sending “the average person”—Homer—into space. The stunt ends in close to catastrophe when Homer’s antics (starting with smuggling a bag of potato chips into the capsule) destroy the navigation gear, nearly killing himself and the crew.
The common individual is extra clever than Homer, however the episode (which first aired in 1994, and options Buzz Aldrin as a visitor star) truly raises some points that also resonate at present. Spaceflight nonetheless isn’t an endeavor the typical individual may very well be anticipated to deal with with out rigorous coaching. It’s not like taking a flight throughout the globe. There are intense bodily rigors concerned in using a rocket into orbit and residing in microgravity for quite a lot of days. There’s the psychological toll of residing and dealing in such a small area for thus lengthy. Emergencies can prop up at any second, requiring a really calm disposition even when your life and your crewmates’ lives are at stake. That’s why astronauts prepare for years earlier than they really fly into area.
The opposite concern is cash. It’s nonetheless actually, actually, actually costly to ship individuals into area, and those that usually are not bankrolled by a authorities or a rich firm must pay their very own method. When SpaceX launches its mission across the moon in 2023, the six to eight passengers scheduled to go will embrace Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. It’s not clear how a lot he’s paying for the journey, however one has to imagine it’s greater than most of us may ever dream of creating in our lifetimes. NASA needs to supply alternatives for vacationers and personal residents to go to the Worldwide House Station, and it will solely cost $35,000 a night to pay for meals and life assist. However that’s not making an allowance for launch prices for a seat aboard the capsule that really goes to the ISS (which could be up to $52 million).
That doesn’t imply area will at all times be closed off to the typical individual. Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin need to supply suborbital flights that may take individuals into area for a couple of minutes and permit them to expertise weightlessness and get a view of Earth from excessive above. The coaching for these missions is way from intense, and anybody who’s wholesome ought to be capable of go. Virgin Galactic flight reservations are $250,000. Elon Musk has mentioned his eventual objective is for a one-way ticket to Mars aboard Starship to value about the identical, however that’s many years down the highway. House won’t ever be low cost, however it can get cheaper.