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Author Topic: When will space tourism commence?  (Read 8641 times)

Offline thedoc

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When will space tourism commence?
« on: 28/10/2014 17:35:55 »
The space age is upon us, with Virgin Galactic offering tickets to space for $250,000 but when will it become the norm?
Read a transcript of the interview by clicking here
or Listen to it now or [download as MP3]
« Last Edit: 28/10/2014 17:35:55 by _system »


 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #1 on: 29/10/2014 18:06:51 »
You'd have to pay me more than that to get me to go up in one of those. Five minutes of floating about in other people's puke! No thanks!
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #2 on: 30/10/2014 12:04:10 »
Most of the current generation of "space tourism" is sub-orbital flights.  Just hit the edge of space, then come back down. 

A quarter million dollars seems pretty expensive to say that one has touched the edge of space. 

NASA's rocket explosion two days ago is a humble reminder of the dangers inherent in LEO, or higher launches.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #3 on: 30/10/2014 17:14:21 »
I'd like to be able to see the night sky without any of the atmosphere in the way, but I suspect you'd see it better from high altitude while still standing on the planet rather than trying to see it through a glass window from a moving platform with everything flying about inside it. Being weightless would be fun, but you can get that in a more conventional plane. I don't know how the cost compares, but I suspect the plane's a lot cheaper per minute of weightlessness, and probably less polluting too.
« Last Edit: 30/10/2014 17:17:00 by David Cooper »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #4 on: 31/10/2014 23:36:15 »
One of Virgin Galactic's test rockets exploded today, killing one, and injuring one.  Fortunately there were no passengers on the plane/rocket, but it is reminder that Space is a dangerous environment to get to.
 

Offline ScientificSorcerer

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #5 on: 04/11/2014 16:21:36 »
It will commence as soon as it becomes profitable to go to space, and there is a place to visit.  the way it is now, you pay a few million dollars just to send a few minutes in micro gravity.  woopdy do  :P

If for example we start mining the moon for helium 3 then perhaps there would be regular visits to the moon's surface with something out there to go and see. mining missions would start the space economy which would be followed by space tourists.  A tourist group would then be able to "tag along" to see the moon and the mining base(s). You could be a real astronaut and do something worth spending a few million on.

It's very simple, There is "very little business intensive" to go away from earth to the moon or mars or anywhere else.  because there is no money to be made out there (or so it seems) the only thing which would be worth going to the moon to mine is helium 3 which hits the moon's surface via solar wind. it is extremely lite and extremely valuable.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #6 on: 04/11/2014 16:40:49 »
We do need to move out to Mars and the moons of the gas giants, but we've got a few billion years to play with first, and at some point we might want to jump star (good opportunities may come when we merge with M31). Our priority should be to dig in (underground zoos, etc.) and make sure we can survive gamma ray bursts and the like here on Earth.

But, the space plane toy that's nearly ready may be good for film makers if it allows steadier weightlessness than can be filmed in the Vomit Comet.
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #7 on: 05/11/2014 21:35:05 »
The latest comments seem to indicate that it was not a engine failure that caused the crash but premature deployment of the landing mode.
 

Offline Expectant_Philosopher

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #8 on: 14/11/2014 20:50:56 »
We need it to be safer before space hotels are built.  Safer from micrometeorites and other damaging debris, as well as from damaging radiation.  Having though a space hotel would be the equivalent of an Eifel Tower to inspire the imagination.  Look at the technology inspired by that elegant structure, merely because it changed our point of view. 

More than just a technical marvel I believe a space hotel would be fun.  Imagine a swimming pool which is just a large globule of water suspended zero G in a chamber, into which you can enter or exit from any point on its circumferential surface.  Imagine you enter your suite at a comfortable 95 percent gravity, but at a touch of a button, the entire room moves in the direction of the hub of the spinning station allowing its guests to experience a night in zero G.  Imagine one dining room with an unobstructed view of the expanse of the Earth's surface, while another dining room provides diners a brilliant view of our closest stellar neighbors. 
« Last Edit: 14/11/2014 20:55:10 by Expectant_Philosopher »
 

Offline RD

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #9 on: 14/11/2014 22:50:01 »
... Imagine a swimming pool which is just a large globule of water suspended zero G in a chamber, into which you can enter or exit from any point on its circumferential surface.

The water-sphere would not hold-together with people splashing-about in it , see ...
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #10 on: 15/11/2014 00:24:31 »
The pleasures of swimming are the freedom to dive from a considerable height without hurting yourself, followed by the experience of weightlessness. The downside is trying to move in a viscous medium and the inability to breathe it. You can't dive in zero-g, only propel your already weightless self at constant speed into this dangerous blob.

When swimming in a gravitational field you can find your way to the surface by following the bubbles of your breath, and if you stop swimming you will float to the surface anyway. Not so in space. The luxury pool will soon fill with dead bodies.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #11 on: 15/11/2014 04:49:21 »
I think it makes sense to use our moon as a stepping stone to get to other planets and moons, so I would expect the first colonies to be on the moon.

Part of space tourism may be having a place to go.  Space Station, Space Hotel, or Lunar Colony.  I find it doubtful many people would spend a decade traveling to Mars and back for "tourism".

However, as far as space tourism.  Consider the Saturn V.
Capacity: 3 people.  Destination Moon.
Fuel: 530,100 gallons

Now, if a person drives a car 1,000,000 miles in a lifetime, at 20 mpg, that comes out to about 50,000 gallons of fuel WHEW!!! 

So, the one trip to the moon takes about 3 lifetimes worth of fuel per person.  Not to mention the construction of the rocket, and the aluminum and other materials that go into it.

It may never become economical to "tour" space, although there will always be some people with more money than brains who may choose to do it.  The majority of trips beyond our moon will likely be one-way colonists.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #12 on: 15/11/2014 05:13:03 »
As far as swimming in space, one could certainly use scuba gear to navigate around a tank with an airlock.  Or, if the tank was half full of water, it would probably often be around one side of the tank or another.  A person should be able to swim in it with some training.  Just learn to recognize how to get back to the surface, no mater the orientation.  Or perhaps add a bubbler, so one could just find an air bubble (and hope it wasn't full of CO2).

What is the surface tension like?  Perhaps a person could "walk on water".  Say you lathered yourself up with some kind of hydrophobic grease, one should be able to float on the surface like a waterbed without the covering. 

Water can be vital for everything from fuel to drinking to making air, but building a swimming pool in space beyond what is necessary to maintain a space station may be the ultimate excess, unless, of course, the water supply varies, and the pool might be biggest just after supply runs.

One would expect a large, mostly closed system if a large space station was ever built.  I suppose water might be a good way to store an emergency oxygen supply for in the event of traumatic decompression.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #13 on: 15/11/2014 08:35:23 »
Swimming in space might be one way of maintaining muscle tone, but the existing bungee multigyms are just as effective and take up less space and mass.

As for walking on water, the entire concept of support or floating is meaningless in zero-g. You could remain motionless an inch above the surface, or a million miles from it, for as long as you like. 
 

Offline syhprum

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #14 on: 15/11/2014 13:52:53 »
What are we to do with all this Helium 3 that we are supposed to be mining on the Moon if we store it until the fusion reactors are built it will probably all have decayed due to radio activity.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #15 on: 15/11/2014 14:26:03 »
Quote
Helium-3 (He-3) is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium....

but then neither Wikipedia nor I can claim infallibility.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #16 on: 15/11/2014 17:53:55 »
Quote
Helium-3 (He-3) is a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium....

but then neither Wikipedia nor I can claim infallibility.
Perhaps it is a pessimistic view of the world, and we may not achieve 3He fusion for another few billion years.  At which point, leakage from storage vessels would be a greater concern than radioactive decay.

Tritium (3H), of course, does decay rather quickly.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #17 on: 15/11/2014 18:52:54 »
We need the space elevator to make more progress with space travel. The biggest cost is getting things off the Earth due to the enormous amounts of energy required, but a space elevator could be solar powered and would use very little energy to run. The big question though is, what is the risk of it being destroyed by meteoroids?
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #18 on: 15/11/2014 19:35:47 »
The space elevator would take our materials to their absolute limits  [:o)]with essentially no safety margin.

Assuming the elevator was extended into the troposphere, it would also have to contend with:
  • Meteors and micrometeors
  • Space Junk
  • UV
  • High Energy Charged Particles (solar wind and cosmic rays)
  • Atmosphere Resistance
  • Wind and storms on our planet, plus weathering
  • MATERIAL FATIGUE
Plus, of course, the cost of getting thousands, or millions of tons of carbon into the sky.

The space elevator is a wonderful idea, and may work, but don't count on it coming any time soon.  Perhaps the technology will be more applicable to other planets, or our moon, despite its slow rotation period.
« Last Edit: 15/11/2014 19:39:17 by CliffordK »
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #19 on: 15/11/2014 21:15:10 »
You'd start with a thin one and use that to lift a thicker one, so the most energy intensive part of it would be getting the initial thin one up to geostationary orbit from where it would be lowered. I've heard that there's theoretically twice as much strength available in the best possible fibres than the minimum necessary for a cable to support its own weight, so it may be workable.
 

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Re: When will space tourism commence?
« Reply #19 on: 15/11/2014 21:15:10 »

 

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