If there’s one big trend among billionaires at the moment, it seems to be space.
Jeff Bezos has just reached the edge of space, blasting off from Texas in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket. It’s the first human flight from Blue Origin, the Amazon founder’s privately owned aerospace company.
The flight comes hot on the heels of Richard Branson, who flew to the edge of space on July 12th. Branson called Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed flight the “experience of a lifetime”, during which he experienced weightlessness for a few minutes.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk is another billionaire keen to explore life off earth – his company SpaceX is due to launch its first fully private spaceflight in the autumn.
While it could be argued billionaires are bringing about a new era of commercial trips to space, it likely won’t come cheap. Tourists are expected to end up paying around $250,000 (€212,179) for a spaceflight on Virgin Galactic for instance – including just four minutes of zero gravity.
Space travel is off the table for most of us – at least for the moment. However, there are still ways to enjoy space from earth…
1. Go online
Sure, you might not be able to experience the mysteries of the cosmos up close and personal, but you can still do so from the comfort of your own home. On View Space you can dive into black holes, dark matter and different types of stars through interactive galleries and videos – perfect for any space buff who find themself grounded.
2. Watch some sci-fi
Who said your experiences with space had to be scientifically accurate? Star Trek opens up the entire galaxy, Roswell shows you what aliens would be like as teenagers on earth and The Jetsons will provide you with plenty of space-age nostalgia.
3. Do some on-earth space tourism
If travel restrictions allow, why not visit the centre of all things space on earth? Roswell in New Mexico has become the unofficial centre for UFOs since the Roswell incident of 1947 – sparking waves of alien conspiracy theories. It’s home to the Roswell International UFO Museum & Research Center – as well as a McDonald’s shaped like a UFO.
Closer to home in Ireland, we have two “gold tier international dark sky parks”, one in Mayo and the other in Kerry.