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I got this one from the NY TIMES. Not the best of papers, too be sure, but still a major news source. Not really paranormal, just weird. :eek:


August 10, 2005
Private Company Plans $100 Million Tour Around the Moon
One day after NASA brought the shuttle Discovery back from low Earth orbit, a private company plans to announce a more audacious venture, a tourist trip around the Moon.

Space Adventures, a company based in Arlington, Va., has already sent two tourists into orbit. Today, it is to unveil an agreement with Russian space officials to send two passengers on a voyage lasting 10 to 21 days, depending partly on its itinerary and whether it includes the International Space Station.

A roundtrip ticket will cost $100 million. :eek:

The space-faring tourists will travel with a Russian pilot. They will steer clear of the greater technical challenge of landing on the Moon, instead circling it and returning to Earth.

Eric Anderson, the chief executive of Space Adventures, said he believed the trip could be accomplished as early as 2008. :googly: Mr. Anderson said he had already received expressions of interest from a few potential clients.

The Soyuz vehicle to be used does not have the power to reach the Moon on its own, so the Russians have devised a plan to send up a booster. The Soyuz would dock with the booster, either in low Earth orbit or at the International Space Station.

The booster would take the passengers the rest of the way. The price of the two tickets, Mr. Anderson said, would pay for the costs of the Moon shot. His company's demographic research, he said, suggests that 500 to 1,000 people in the world can afford to do this.

"It's the same number of people who could afford to buy a $100 million yacht," Mr. Anderson added. Two people who have already paid Space Adventures to go into orbit, at a reported $20 million apiece, applauded the new initiative though they said they were not sure they would try the Moon orbit.

Dennis Tito, a financier who in 2001 became the first space tourist, said that he found the idea fascinating but added that he doubted he would make such a trip. Having just turned 65, and with the Moon orbit at least a few years away, he said he might be too old for the rigors of the voyage.

"I would be considering it if I were younger, and I had that kind of money to spare," Mr. Tito said.

Another Space Adventures client, Greg Olsen, who made millions in the sale of his camera technology company, Sensors Unlimited, is preparing to visit the space station for several days in October. Of the Moon trip, he said, "It's certainly intriguing, and it's something I'd like to do."

Will he buy a ticket, then? "One trip at a time," he replied.

The trip seems feasible, said Dr. John M. Logsdon, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. "As a nontechnical person, I don't see any technical showstoppers," Dr. Logsdon said, "if people are crazy enough to do it."

And, he added, it would make "a lot of money for the Russians."

Christopher C. Kraft, a former director of the Johnson Space Center, said his feelings about the enterprise were mixed. "I think it would be a fantastic journey," he said. "I could see why, if I had the price of the ticket and could use the money that way, that it would be tempting to go."

But Mr. Kraft added that the flight would be cramped and probably extremely unpleasant. With three people in a small Soyuz craft for an extended trip, he said, "I imagine that you could endure that, but, man, it would be tough."

Mr. Anderson of Space Adventures said the craft had about as much room as a sport utility vehicle. "Will it be cramped? Yes," he said. "But will it be doable? Yes."

He noted that the Gemini capsule was smaller than the Soyuz, and that the astronauts James A. Lovell and Frank Borman orbited the Earth for 14 days in the Gemini 7 mission in 1965.

But Mr. Kraft, who was the flight director for that mission, recalled that Mr. Lovell and Mr. Borman were miserable. They complained bitterly that the trip was like "14 days in a men's room," and Mr. Kraft said that he had to talk them out of ending the mission early. "They wanted to get out of there," he said.

Mr. Anderson said the timing of the announcement was not meant to tweak the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "We believe private space flight and space exploration can go hand in hand, and can coexist and benefit each other," he said. Government, he said, should focus "on things that private companies cannot do," like exploring other planets. His company's system, he said, could eventually be a subcontractor, offering transportation services to a government Moon base.

"I just love the idea of demonstrating that things can be done for less money than people thought, and paradigms can be shifted," he said. "Space flight can be opened up."

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Nothing about this sounds like it would be fun or beneficial to betterment of mankind in any way and definitely not worth $100 mil! The government wastes a lot of time and effort on trivialities and frivilous endeavours when they can't even pull our troops out of Iraq who are over there for no real reason that I can see, finding ways to increase the earths food supply so world hunger can be stamped out, not utilizing our resources to terminate dangerous criminals who are obviously guilty of horrendous crimes and a list of other glaring black marks that has shamed America and made us a joke to the rest of the world who exploits us at their whim. :mad:

As a child, I always thought living on the moon or Mars would be a pretty cool thing to do. As an adult, I have become somewhat indifferent to it and realize that serious colonization of said worlds won't even begin until I am long dead and will most likely be CENTURIES in the future. I find anything about space fascinating, but get sort of riled when I hear something as piddling as this in a reputable news source. But as Raxl said, "Not the best of papers" and definitely the articles falls well into the realm of weird. :rolleyes:

There. I'm off my soap box now. Will the next person that has something to say about this or something else, please step up! :D

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I think this will just make America look even more like the rich, selfish people that some other cultures see us as.
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