The dream is that one day people will be able to travel to the moon and enjoy a romantic earth rise in the mornings. The privatization of space flight and tourism may be taking another step closer.
Today a report emerged that the founders of Amazon, Virgin, and Tesla are in talks to establish the world’s first all-inclusive moon tourism program.
Virgin, via its Miami, Florida division Virgin Hotels, will have primary responsibility to develop and market the moon resort.
Virgin Hotels will be working on the core need of developing luxury accommodations for low gravity living. To provide a resort style vacation environment, a variety of standard hotel or resort style amenities will have to be developed for challenges of a low gravity environment.
David Patrick, Moon Tourism Project Manager for Virgin Hotels said, “We want our guests to feel like they are at an earth style resort. But we also must be realistic that near zero gravity provides real challenges to just simple amenities like food and drink. We are building a unique team of scientists and hospitality experts to provide innovative solutions to these challenges.”
The main resort facility will also have a full medical center with staff and capabilities of a typical Emergency Room.
Tesla is tasked to develop a moon rover excursion vehicle that will allow tourists to take daily tours to different parts of the moon. While nearly 50 years have passed since the last time a manned rover was used on the moon, the challenge for Tesla will be enormous.
The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) was brought to the moon with each mission and was a really pretty simple two person jeep style vehicle with about a 20 KM range at very low speed.
The Tesla version will need to accommodate tour groups, be assembled and stay on the moon, and need to be serviceable on the moon. It will also require a much greater range and speed to offer tourists attractive excursions to sites at least 100 KM away.
For added safety, each excursion destination will feature a permanent structure to provide guests with shelter and provisions. Some remote excursion points will have sleep capacity for overnight guests.
Tesla will also need to develop standard service vehicles for maintenance workers and Advanced Life Support Medical Rapid Response vehicles (ALSMRRV). Each excursion destination will have one ALSMRRV should a medical emergency occur.
Amazon’s part in this collaboration will be to handle cargo and logistics on earth, between earth and moon, and between resort and excursion locations on the moon.
The firm expects to build a warehouse on the moon that includes spare parts and convenience goods for visitors and staff. Most smaller products will ride along as cargo on passenger flights to the moon, but cargo only flights will be necessary for larger pieces and larger cargo shipments.
“The complexities of managing stock and shipments to such a remote location will be huge”, said Greg Smith, spokesman for Amazon. “Even to the most remote locations on earth, hostile to human life, we have the technology today to get emergency supplies delivered in days. For the moon, it can take a month or so to deliver products. We must have a well-stocked facility on the moon to supply guests and staff as there is no realistic on demand emergency supply shipment possible.”
So why are Amazon, Virgin Hotels, and Tesla collaborating on this project?
The answer is actually pretty simple, all three founders own space rocket companies that are either currently flying or testing actual space flight rockets and vehicles.
By combining the engineering resources of Virgin Galactic (Richard Branson, Virgin), Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos, Amazon), and SpaceX (Elon Musk, Tesla) the three companies can push this project to fruition. Of course they are working to bring more partners into the fold.
While government agencies have not been able to accomplish what these three are attempting to do, the help of NASA (US) and ESA (EU) will still be an integral part of the project.
No word about Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, but then again they are stuck on the aging family of Soyuz rockets which flew first in 1966…You probably can’t blame that today’s tech firms may not look to favorably at the current state of the Russian space program.
A CLASS IN SPACE?
Corporate sponsors are being lined up to offer educational opportunities on the moon as well. The lunar base will include a scientific research facility and the California Institute of Technology has shown interest to be the first university to offer hands-on classes on the moon.
Students from any accredited university will have the opportunity to apply for these classes and a selection committee will pick 4 students for a completely free class trip to the moon.
On the moon, the students will work alongside the scientists stationed there in a lab environment while receiving additional instruction from earthbound professors.
This will give Space Camp a whole new meaning!
STILL, A LOT TO DO BEFORE THE FIRST FLIGHT
It’s been too long since this picture was taken during Apollo 15. But we will have to wait a little longer before man will return to the moon.
There is still a lot of planning work to be done before the first pieces for a lunar base can be sent to the moon. All three members of the founding group to this project expect this will take about 7-10 years to finalize plans and then another 3 to 4 years for transport and assembly before the first space tourist will actually step foot into the Virgin Hotel & Resort on the moon.
We understand that just about everyone in Silicon Valley is excited about this project and is willing to put funds and resources toward it. Apple alone is sitting on $246 billion of cash and this multi-national project would be a good place to spent some of it.
“It’s Gonna Be Yuuuuge” those were the words heard from the Whitehouse upon learning of this privately funded space endeavor.
Our take on this story: We think this is fantastic, do what government agencies have failed to do for all these years, make space travel available to common people. Well, almost “common” as you need a few Dollars to afford them.
But this kind of progress can only come from entrepreneurship and private innovation today. Unfortunately, we suggest you look at the posting date…
Yes, we made it up, the whole story including quotes from people that don’t exist. It is an April’s Fools’ Day story. Maybe someday we will see such announcements by forward thinking entrepreneurs. But it is not today 🙁
Image credits: NASA and Blue Origin.