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Thursday, 5 July 2012

No one wants to visit the Moon. We have tickets on sale since 2008

                                        Photo by me

You want to go to the Moon? It costs $ 100,000,000. It is not new. The company even sold tickets to travel on International Space Station for $ 20 million.

Company 'Space Adventures', announced plans for two passengers to ride a Russian Soyuz rocket to the Moon and back, since 2008. A Russian cosmonaut would pilot the spacecraft. Soyuz would travel around the unseen side of the Moon and then return to Earth without orbiting around it, or landing. Challenge of finding two passengers to pay $ 100 million each, probably is harder than the mission to the Moon itself, because no one ever rushed for this.

First, customers will have three seats aboard Soyuz to the International Space Station. Two seats on the capsule will be for the private customers, and the third will be reserved for the commander of the mission.
To complete the next phase of the journey, Soyuz will undock from the station and meet with a separate amplifier, which sends passengers on a journey of three days to the Moon.

Back then, in 2008, the comapany has been touted, but it seems that space tourism is not prosperous at all, and their attempt was futile. I think we will wait a long time to travel in space beyond the orbit of our planet in private missions. Now the company is apparently planning to organize trips to the Moon again by 2017. But why do I think that this advertisement will have the same effect? Perhaps people think about their safety. Because there are plenty of millionaires on Earth that would have financial possibilities. Maybe they wait for the technology to be more advanced.

Eric Anderson, from "Space Adventures" discusses plans for the first privately financed space mission to circumnavigate the Moon, and its implications, in the video below.

Video above is found on their website.

There was not a manned mission to the Moon, since Apollo 17 in December 1972. A total of 24 people have traveled so far to the Moon, and three of them made ​​the trip twice. Only half of those 24 people walked on the lunar surface.


Your comments on Facebook and LinkedIn for this article:

Andreas P. Bergweiler Commented on this post to me on Facebook:
The technical aspects and the engineering of such missions can't be realistic expected. In regards of "Flying around the Moon", there are some points in what are not covered from a realistic point of the view. Also, the named price tag is n...ot realistic. Also, such a mission is NEVER a private mission, because of using of state owned crafts. Such missions has to be state approved with signatures of high level secretaries, if not the president itself. If during such mission something would go wrong, as the discussion was during the Apollo 8 mission (failure of the only rocket engine), nobody wants to have that finger will be pointed on responsible persons. The only way to do such a mission is to do it total private (e.g. SpaceX etc.). But we are far away from such missions, and in my opinion nobody will do a deposit for a 100 Million to 150 Million USD seat inside of Soyuz, if the other seat is not booked and the technical issues are not discussed very well and in final. In regards of the Moon flyby, it was never done from the Russians with a manned craft, and ZOND missions are a piece of out of the history books. But, the idea is that what give people wings to fly. and so there is nothing bad in it to talk about that the options and possibilities are there. Space Adventures does a great job so far, and there is no reason to stop talking about this matters, to go to the Moon on "private wings" and beyond. It will be done, but the timeframe is still open. If you see how long the development from winning of Xprize in 2004 is taking on to fly people on private wings to suborbital altitudes, no wonder that a private flight to the moon will took some decades more.

Michael Hallden-AbbertonYes, Isn't this a shame. I grew up thinking we'd be on the moon by now. I wish I could still go!

Charles E. KrezinskiI was born in 1958 and have had the thrill of seeing and following all of manned space flight throughout the years up to our present SpaceX. I followed the Apollo moon landings as a teen intensly. NASA had such a good record and National fundings, yet we DID lose three (on the GROUND tourist company) and almost another three in space..........I would love to see us go back to the moon again, but for a good reason, (basically rock gathering, haha, enough to give everyone in the U.S. a suveniour, we paid for them and we know they are harmless, but no price galging!)...
But seriously, testing new hardware, engines, modern in flight and planet super flex excursion space suits for Mars missions, we would at least have that all designed and testing completed. I think I would like see the long past mission remnents of a moon landing and how the gear holds up perfectly over the decades gone by and have it all broadcasted to me in my Lazyboy & on my Widescreen Color HD TV!.......

Space tourism? a joke. Colony building, I think a waste unless it was to test "actual gear for quick and simple inhabitants housing that would be used on a still up-in-the-air first Mars trip. I don't think we should go back just to walk around with our hand in our suit pockets, whisling and kicking rocks around. Save our money for going to test Mars equipment, not moon equipment, then redesign mega-bucks for Mars items........But for the people who want to take tour buses to the moon, just getting into low earth orbit and returning is dangerous for the big boys at NASA with the shuttle incidents.

I cannot believe another independent company has the funds, or present technology (much less back in 2008) OR the research, testing and hardware to back up it's claim, or at least I haven't seen it yet. Is the 100,000,000 needed before project development testing, taking company test astronauts there to prove reliability and safety....I cannot believe such business has the ability or the full knowledge to do such a thing reguardless of their claims, we've seen no testing or major interest by the Big Boys, The Professionals or Major News Sourses. SpaceX teamed with NASA pros just to get a module to the Space Station. It's seems only for the mega-rich who I believe are smart enough to worry about their safety on such an unknown adventure...........

No one has anything to gain, I don't see it being prosperious. I believe at this time your money would be better spend on super realistic stage props like the people who don't believe the original landings happened. I would be much safer and probably profitable opening it to maybe more people who could afford it, maybe only 2,000,000 dollars. Disneyworld, Imax, Pixar, U.S. and NASA flight simulators, and large motion picture stages could really pull off this "Week of Seamless Adventure" from beginning to end for the price you're asking per person...You may even gain a few fatalities onset!....

I would not trust your rockets, suits, training, flight team members and especially your safety margins at ALL. Sounds like a 2008 space quack idea or a rip off. Paying off a life insurance policy of someone who put down 100,000,000 dollars still would probably leave you a healthy profit.......Look into the ..??? X-prize is it?....For the first private company just to circle the moon and return safely......No paying customers allowed.....

I'm not sure who got my feather's ruffled and who to address this comment to. I hate to comment to the wrong person, so to whoever, this is for you properly placed.
(I hope I didn't get the reason for this discussion mixed up in my mind...haha..have a great day!) ~cek

Michael UbertyRumor has it that India with coroperation from Russia will be the next to visit the Moon.

Charles E. KrezinskiIt's hard to believe we (the USA) did it 43 years ago with less then ten years of Apollo preperation from the Kennedy speech. And with so many involved, lack other then three pre-mission astronaut fatlities and with almost all perfect missions successes!....So to ALL of our U.S. past NASA Space programs and the ISS still continuing.....BUT the complexity of landing on the moon playing with human rovers so far from the LEM home, depending on them and the one chance to get off the moon and get many, time after time, THAT to me outweighs what we do today.

Karl Reimer GodtMy personal thinking is : Seafarers had it difficult 500 years back and though Soyuz is quite reliable it is still risky : Russian Soyuz Rocket Launch Failure - Scary Rocket Explosion : YouTube is full of such videos : People in their 60s might risk it to go on space holiday but in our times it might be wiser with 60+ to spend millions of pressed papers to ancestors since banks don't seem to "really" go bankrupt anymore . Maybe they waste it with space tourism .

Charles E. KrezinskiThere are no provisions/sites on the moon for tourism.....Does one suit fit all?.......It's still rediculous to me... and that's jmo

Karl Reimer Godt
interesting to read .. Whom i declare : Here's my Motel ?
Nevertheless i would explore Venus before exploring Mars , but in governmental or space agency behaviors there are many things I have difficulties to follow

Molly C.I watched the two videos and it's interesting but it costs $100 million each! I think we are looking at several more years before traveling to the moon as a tourist becomes a reality.

Andrew GrunkeThe American moon exploration was cut short by two considerations, cost and the International Space Station. While the Space Shuttle was a wonderful bird, it was also 'just a space truck'. It was capable only of reaching low earth orbit. Now that the shuttle program has reached its end, NASA can continue with its actual mandate, which is exploration. I have great respect for the shuttle, her crews and the people who worked on it but now it's time to move aside. Today in the USA the commercialization of outer space is pushed forward by visionaries like Elon Musk and Burt Rutan. Go SpaceX!
The next people on the moon will almost surely be the Chinese. They have publicly committed to being on the moon and mining by the year 2020-30. And they are right on track. India will be close behind them. The object of their efforts is to mine Helium-3, an isotope in the lunar regolith that makes fusion energy practical. With 25 tons of the material, enough energy to power the USA grid for a year is possible.

There are a couple of pretty good, workable plans for transient 'hotels' in inflatable structures low earth orbits. They are still tremendously expensive and it will be a decade at least before they can be done. Again, though this can be accomplished by civilians like SpaceX, if a reasonable return on investment can be had.
I believe that it is our destiny to some day travel to the planets and eventually the stars. But it's going to be a very, very long journey. :)) Thanks for reading!

Michael UbertyAn answer and question by an Astronaut.

Charles E. KrezinskiI see decades............half century or more. Going to the moon again for with a scientific goal, yes. I don't think tourism is still a simple, affortable, nonchalant endevore. I have yet to see the manned Chinese or Indian actual manned space projects do anything other then talk, though seriously even in their simplest terms. Some how I feel vunderable with other country's manned space programs. They are just getting their feet wet in their infantcy.

Andrew GrunkeMr. Krezinski, I have to agree that it seems a bit excessive to pay millions of dollars just to 'take a ride in a spaceship'. Space tourism is a distraction for the popular press because geology and engineering baffle people. Spending millions on exobiology to find just one microbe on Mars doesn't resonate with people raised on ET and Star Wars, but it is necessary to do if we're ever to answer the questions about who and what we are.
You made one statement that I cannot figure out though: 'No one has anything to gain.' The fact is, in order to survive in the long run as a species, we will have to use all of the resources at hand. And everything we need for now is right here in the solar system. There is enough sunlight to power half the world. There is enough helium-3 on the moon to power the other half. There are vast stores of metals including, iron, nickel, gold in the asteroids. There is a huge store of methane on Titan. A trillion ampere electrical current flows between Jupiter and Io. Surely we have uses for these things. Not to mention that in order just to go to Mars, we will have to define and develop self regenerating ecologies for traveling on long journeys. To do that we have to have more knowledge about biology and ourselves and our relationships with environment. What I am saying is that we ALL have everything to gain by going into space.
And finally, there's the money thing. I can put it in one word: capitalism. Elon Musk put his OWN money up to build Falcon rockets. The hardware and engines are designed and built by SpaceX and indeed Musk himself. The latest mission they had to the space station was of course closely coordinated with NASA. SpaceX rented the launch facility and built their own equipment here, leading to many good jobs from Hawthorne Cali to Cocoa Beach. And SpaceX is just one of the up and coming commercial space companies. Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic are coming along nicely. I think what's appropriate here is the 'old saying' -- Either lead or follow or get out of the way.
We are going to space. Wanna come?
Crano Blythe     

     Paul O'NeilVery true Andrew we will run out fule here than what we nead to go to the planets and those rocks everything we need is there it will take all nations in the world to do it but we are behind hope we catch up there be no fule left in about 100 years should start planing now         

Charles E. KrezinskiMining planets, moons or asteroids for any significant gain I see WAY beyond anyone's current grasp OR deep pockets in the century to come or for the century after that for that matter. I see our coming energy needs as Earthbound endeavours and solutions.....Then again, putting private rockets into space with a task that it completes, sucessfully building and landing rovers that complete tasks way beyond their given lifespand, sending probes to do task impossible for us personally then just edge out of our solar system and going interstellar 35 years after launch OR planting a man's foot safely 'one planet' over as quite a different thing.

Andrew GrunkeA note to Molly....the base price for a Boeing 747 is over $200 million. A few add-ons here and there and it's easily a quarter billion, EACH. Thousands of them have been produced. Also, consider the amount of money spent on the interstate highway system just since the 1950's. I'm sure that if we had approached an average person in the year 1900 and said we want to spend a trillion dollars on asphalt for a road, they would have been incredulous too.
What's actually at issue here is ROI, return on investment. In order for space commercialization to succeed, there have to be products produced and sold. Space tourism is just a little bait, to get average people interested but people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to climb Mt. Everest still, so I don't tourist money should be ignored.
I recently read where a group wants to start the space junk business. To have a platform from which to launch robots that will capture and bring spent satellites back for repair, in the process picking up the debris that they find. We already have the technical capacity to do that, but the market has not been developed yet.
The moon will be the richest prize though. Please do some reading about helium-3. I have worked with some high level Chinese scientists and I have reason to believe they have already made the breakthrough that will enable He-3 to be used as a fuel for fusion. They ARE going to the moon and not as tourists. They are going now, today, not in the next century but in the next decade! There's a Chinese space station with crew on board going over your head right now.
Virgin Galactic is approaching it from the transportation/tourism direction. SpaceX, through the goods and services route. We should support these entrepreneurs.

And to Mr. Krezinski - yes, it's a big project, the biggest ever. We better get busy, eh?

Charles E. Krezinski"China will have to do something new to get Americans' attention," perhaps building a base on the Moon, but just going there would not be sufficient." The former staff director for the House Science, Space and Technology committee argued that China is "not leading, but following." The U.S, is not in a space race with China.....Japan and India are. China if they landed on the moon this year would have done something it took them 43 years to do that we done in a little less then 10 and many times over.....Everything they are doing we have already accomplish on much larger scales, some decades and decades ago.

Andrew GrunkeMssr. Krez, A workable solution to fusion energy would be 'something new'. And we are paying attention, the initial assay of lunar regolith comes from the Apollo era. He-3 has been written about extensively in literature. Besides large scale power generation, it should be useable to power a spacecraft for long duration missions. That too would be 'something new'.
As far as leading or following, China may be behind us in space achievements but they have been developing their own gear and seem to be doing a good job of it. They have an excellent launch record. But yes, I agree with you, there should be no space race, we're all on this journey together as a species. I think we will see that going successfully to Mars is beyond the capabilities and funds available from any one country, we all go or none go, at least not in any colonization attempt.
As much as I am in awe of Dr. vonBraun's Saturn V rocket, that's not the best solution or the only one. He was on a schedule and had to go by what worked. Humans are clever apes, I'm sure we'll come up with some faster, better, cheaper technology in the future.

Crano Blythe 

Michael Hallden-AbbertonOK, so here is a call to the engineers in the group. If I had to colonize the moon (or build a less expensive tourist hotel or research base on the moon) here's how I would do it. Land on one of the poles of the moon (rich deposits of water ice - lakes worth), and bring some small tunneling machines, and a Thermopile to melt water. Tunnel into the side of an appropriate mountain and use the available cementitous dust (with water) to build cement-reinforced habitats under ground. Lower radiation, good heat insulation, meteor resistance, etc. Cheap? No. Doable? Yes. But, year after year, we would be making it easier to exist on the moon and building the expertise to be self supporting.

Where are the explorers? The dreamers? Am I the only one left? ...and No, I'm not talking about how much it costs now, of COURSE you cant afford it now, unless you have your own Cayman Island account,,,

Andrew GrunkeUm...perhaps you didnt read my posting above yours....i've had many students who are both dreamers and hardnosed science types. We'll all go. Tourism? Oh please, dont bother me.....the real effort is about producing a product that sells. Communications sells, mining sells, production of goods and services sell. Also, look to leading entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson and Orbital Science Corp. Branson is pushing the tourism thing, I think because he's not committed and is looking for the easy money. Elon Musk and SpaceX are real contenders, he has put billions of his own money on the line. And SpaceX is building a good launch history. (Sidenote: SpaceX will produce more rocket engines next year than anyone else in the world! That's Musk's goal and I bet he sees it.)
And I'll say this for the third time....the Chinese are committed to being on the moon and MINING (Helium-3) by the year 2020-30. They are currently building a space station and it is continuously manned (womaned? peopled?). They are going to do what they say they will.

Iain MelvilleMy own thoughts on this are that we will be mining (the moon and then) asteroids - but mainly asteroids - and the space tourist industry/in-orbit construction/re-fuelling stations will be huge spin-off technologies. I know space tourism is making headway but realistically how many people can afford the current prices? In the future, things will be different.
Fuel being space-based water (= hydrogen+oxygen as a by-product of mining). I would hazard a guess at say 30-50 years before the first solar system mining projects begin to be taken seriously and then things will move very fast indeed! We just need to find the right 'rock' and then people will start paying attention.
One thing is certain and no-one has deviated from this point - man will continue to return to space. In doing so, we will make new discoveries and hence progress. I'd invite you all to take a look here if you haven't already:

Andrew GrunkeMaybe we can start rumors of a gold asteroid....hehe

Charles E. KrezinskiI still think space mining is going to be MUCH farther in the future. Designing special spacecraft and space mining tooling and suits and personnel will be an extravigant issue alone less actually going and mining. While it may be in the cards, I will still bet OVER a century or more before such an undertaking can be sucessfully done. It's a massive undertaking here on Earth alone. I don't think you will see any space mining job training academies openning up anytime soon. Hope y'all prove me wrong. (JMO) ; )


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