From 2026 onwards, a company in the United States is planning to be able to take lunar tourists to the moon and back for the princely sum of $10,000.
Moon Express, founded by Naveen Jain, Bob Richards and Barney Pell in 2010, made a giant leap towards achieving this goal earlier this year when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted them permission to land on the moon in 2017. They are the first private company to have been granted such a 'permit,' and its co-founders are understandably excited about its implications. "We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth's eighth continent, the Moon," enthused CEO Bob Richards in a press release.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Chairman Naveen Jain expects space travel to become increasingly affordable in the coming years, in large part because technological advances should continue to drive down costs. Furthermore, Jain anticipates that the journey to the moon should only last as long as a flight currently takes from San Francisco to Sydney. Will there be an in-flight entertainment package? Will the food be freeze-dried? So many questions.
However, the co-founders of Moon Express are eager to assert that their lunar venture represents something much more important than just another step towards the proliferation of space tourism. Indeed, Jain is unequivocal on this point, writing in the press release that "Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children."
Moon Express, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic – it seems that the prospect of space tourism is here to stay. One thing's for sure – bucket lists will never look the same again. We tried to think of a catchy line to round off this article, but Jain does it better than we ever could: "The sky is not the limit for Moon Express – it is the launchpad."