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When tourist space flight begins, I'll try it...

Displaying poll results.
  1117 votes / 4%
After the early adopters return safely.
  1047 votes / 3%
Within a year or two.
  491 votes / 1%
After five years of safe flights.
  1390 votes / 5%
After a decade at least.
  1025 votes / 3%
  2550 votes / 9%
As soon it gets real cheap.
  18071 votes / 66%
Whenever I need to get away from the kids.
  1318 votes / 4%
27009 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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When tourist space flight begins, I'll try it...

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  • When it gets cheap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Friday August 19, 2011 @09:21AM (#37141338) Homepage Journal

    I don't expect it to be cheap enough for the middle class within my lifetime, however.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      I don't expect it to be cheap enough for even much of the upper class for the rest of our lifetime, or practical enough. Sure, it might get down to $20-30 million by our lifetime, but even then only the really rich would be able to afford it. But it all really comes down to practicability. Until you can tour space without weeks or months of training, until it is as easy as stepping onto a plane or boat(which require a 2-3 minute and 15-minute safety lecture respectively) the costs will be prohibitively e
      • by jandrese (485)
        I think with enough economy of scale you could probably get the cost down to the 10s of thousands of dollars in our lifetime, but that's still beyond what most people can do out of pocket. There would also need to be a seriously compelling reason for enough people to go into space to create that economy of scale, and it's hard to imagine anything beyond "Aliens park a megamall in orbit and welcome anybody who can get up there to become part of the galactic community" or something.
        • 10s of thousands of dollars would be enough for the middle class to save up. For one grand trip if they so desire. Granted it is rather expensive for the middle class it is obtainable for the middle class who really wants it.

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            My price point before wife and kids was 100,000. I would have begged borrowed stole to get the cash to do the trip at that. Now that I have wife and kids It'd have to be in the 10-20k range, as that's about all I could force out of the budget without putting much of a hardship on us. (basically new car range, and hardship meaning fewer luxuries)

        • by Rei (128717)

          Bounds on launch costs:

          LEO is ~7800m/s^2 and ~400km, give or take. That's about 30MJ per kg, or about 8.5 kWh per kg. With a base industrial-rate energy cost of $0.06/kWh, a 80-kg adult with 100% launch efficiency and energy as 100% of the cost is about $40*. So barring some radical energy breakthrough**, that's our lower bound.

          * -- This assumes no energy recovery on return.

          ** -- One could argue this either way -- either that increasingly scarce energy supplies or regulation will drive the price up, or t

      • by kiwix (1810960)

        Sure, it might get down to $20-30 million by our lifetime

        Actually, Virgin Galactic [] already sells tickets for 200,000$.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by camionbleu (1633937)

      The way things are going, there won't be a middle class any more within our lifetimes.

    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      So sayeth the new born babe.

    • This, anyone who voted for the first 5 options has to be super-rich. So that's 16% of Slashdot right now, impressive.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        This, anyone who voted for the first 5 options has to be super-rich. So that's 16% of Slashdot right now, impressive.

        That goes for the last option too - at least rich enough to have adopted children.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        It's a matter of priorities. How many people here would be willing to give up home ownership for a ticket? Right now a ticket would cost about 2/3 of what houses around here go for. Chances are that if those folks invested the difference between rent and a mortgage that they could relatively easily get the money by the time the price drops to five figures.

  • by notnAP (846325) on Friday August 19, 2011 @09:34AM (#37141530)

    - I'm voting from space now, you insensitive clod!
    - I'll wait, but I'll send my wife up as soon as possible.
    - There's a universe in all of us...
    - "when" tourise space flight begins? It's already started!
    - can we send Cowboy Neal up first?

    • by ouija147 (467204)

      Missing option ---I'll go if I don't have to go through the TSA Pornoscanners

    • - I'll wait, but I'll send my wife up as soon as possible.

      Thank you Mr. Youngman.

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      - When there is a meaningful destination. I'm all for space flight but dipping into space for 20 minutes just so you can be weightless and see the curvature of the earth seems like a waste of resources.
    • - after the first couple of space vehicle crashes are out of the way.
  • Probably never (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Friday August 19, 2011 @09:46AM (#37141716)

    I predict space tourism will become like cruises. After the first hour or so, people will discover that space is pretty boring. So the space tourist companies will come up with things for people to do, like zero-gravity gambling, or something equally stupid.

    Present: "Hey look! I'm drinking and gambling, but it's on a boat, which makes it super special."

    Future: "Hey look! I'm drinking and gambling, but it's on a low-earth-orbit-capsule, which makes it super special."


    • by arth1 (260657)

      I am pretty sure that drinking in zero-G will not be an option for a long time, for rather obvious reasons.

      I voted "never" because there's no chance in my lifetime that they will open up space flight for cripples and other untermenches.

      • by Gonoff (88518)

        What obvious reasons? It hasn't stopped the Russians.

        The main thing that has kept alcohol (mostly) away from the ISS has been the US presence.
        There are other nationalities up there. The US has no space vehicles for people at present. They hope that private enterprise will sort this. Maybe one day, but they may not be the corporate types that NASA would prefer.

        • by arth1 (260657)

          What obvious reasons?

          Space sickness. Globs of acidic and ill-smelling puke floating around won't improve business.

          Astronauts and cosmonauts have been chosen in part by their resistance to being sick -- or, rather, those who show propensity for that are selected against.

          With tourists, you don't have a long selection process, and as any boat or plane steward can tell you, consuming alcohol greatly increases the risk of technicolor yawns.
          Thus, I am pretty certain that a space hotel would be drier than a mormon tabernacle, until w

          • by Gonoff (88518)

            For all I know, alcohol may be a great space sickness cure.

            Once space becomes truly open, there will be alcohol there. It would be an ideal way of getting small scale private enterprise going. As soon as someone tries to make a law about it though, then the criminals will get in...

        • by atamido (1020905)

          Beer and other bubbly drinks are out because burping in space is a bad thing. Without gravity, there's no way to focus the gasses at the top of your stomach so they can exit out the esophagus without taking everything else with it.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        I voted "never" because there's no chance in my lifetime that they will open up space flight for cripples and other untermenches.

        I'm not sure what your disability is, but if you can afford it i'm sure they'll find a way to take your money, especially if you are an early adopter where the amount of money is large and the queue's are short. Once it becomes affordable enough that more people want flights than there are seats and they get to pick and choose who the 'low risk' customers are I'm sure they'll find a way to exclude you though.

        Didn't they manage to get Stephen Hawking into one of those freefall flights? He's about as crippled

    • by rts008 (812749)

      After the first hour or so, people will discover that space is pretty boring.

      Only if you;re not susceptible to 'motion sickness', I would suspect.

      One of NASA's trainers is known as "The Vomit Comet" for a reason.
      Just sayin'.....

      BTW, I do agree with the concept you stated. :-)

  • Of course it would be an amazing, unique, cool experience that you just have to do if you can, but would it be fun? Think about it. This isn't something you do for enjoyment. You do it for bragging rights, "experience points," a nice view, etc but otherwise it's something you endure. Space tourism would be more like mountain climbing than "tourism" as we normally think of that word.

    If it gets cheap, of course there would be a lot of customers, but they'll get one-time customers. Once you have the bragg

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      People go mountain climbing more than once too. As for fun, I don't enjoy flying to my destination but being there, living it and seeing it always makes the trip worthwhile. I think space travel would be the same way if the opportunity presents itself in my lifetime, I would "endure" the trip for the destination.

      • by Rei (128717)

        Endure the trip? What's there to "endure" about blasting out (via whatever method) of the atmosphere, watching the sky fade to black, the world sprawl out beneath you, the continents span across the horizon, etc? And then a firey return -- no adrenaline there? The only time you might get bored is *in* the destination if there's not enough to do ;) Zero-G itself will only keep you entertained for so long.

    • I should hope it eventually shifts from "space tourism" to "get across the world in 2 hours".

    • by he-sk (103163)

      And you know this how? When was the last time you went on a space trip?

      I can easily imagine two things that would a space trip very much fun. First, If I get a good adrenaline kick out of it, that alone would make it worth the money. Kinda like bungee jumping. Secondly, people who've actually been up there (you know, real astronauts) consistently say that seeing Earth from orbit is one of the most beautiful sights out there. Also worth the money, IHMO. You put that down as a nice view, but I love seeing pic

    • by jamesh (87723)

      If they build a casino in space (with blackjack and hookers etc) then they might find they can secure repeat business. Then it becomes a journey as well as a destination.

  • Commercial space flight will almost assuredly never be available to most of us, especially considering the trajectory of our social stratification. With the current income inequality only getting worse, space flight will remain a pipe dream even for the upper middle class. It'll be a toy for the super rich until humanity collapses. Our sci-fi dreams of human society stretching out across the stars will be stopped dead by the laws of physics--and human greed.

    • Space flight will get cheap. Once the infrastructure is in orbit we will need technicians and other professionals to maintain the stuff. To be sure there will be robots to perform most tasks...but then we'll still need an army of robotic experts to keep them in good repair. The way the technology is progressing, commercial space flight will be viable for perhaps upper-middle class people within fifty years. Within this time period, most of us will still be alive and kicking, so a large percentage of slashdo
      • Anything in Earth orbit is going to have control latencies of well under a second for remote operation. It's going to be a lot cheaper to train people to operate a robot by radio with 600ms latency than to put that human into space.
        • by Skal Tura (595728)

          when you need feedback to do your next move, it becomes 1.2s which makes a trivial few minute job a non-trivial waiting hell of several hours.

          • Doesn't change the fact that it's a heck of a lot cheaper to boost a robot into orbit that you will dispose of at the end of service life than a fragile ape in an armored suit. (that you have to return to earth, worry about long term health risks, train an excessive amount of time for the task, and quadruple check every piece of equipment used)

            • by Skal Tura (595728)

              wasn't arguing otherwise.

              • k. Same thing goes for exploring Mars. While a geologist on the ground might be able to get a lot down walking around and picking up rocks, we could send 1000+ probes to Mars and explore 1000+ locations in parallel for approximately the same cost as a manned mission there and back.

                • by Skal Tura (595728)

                  and again wasn't saying otherwise :)
                  However mars is in the sense easier because you know roughly what's needed, and when unexpected happens and AI can't cope you can just put the rovers on hold waiting for instructions/software update.

                  Repairing a space station is way more complicated than collecting samples from sand or rocks, capturing pictures, and traveling days on end on roughly predetermined path.

                  Until AI becomes vastly better than it is today, and AI development easier & faster, doing very complex

      • by drsquare (530038)

        What makes you think there'll be a middle class in fifty years? Most trends suggest that the last century was something of a blip and we're going back to feudalistic normality.

    • ...exactly like people in every single generation before this have predicted the fall of civilization and the uselessness of that generation's innovations.

  • I picked " as soon as it gets real cheap".

    Some of the joys of being a late adopter:

    1. You feel smug knowing that other people subsidized the development of your experience/product with THEIR money.

    2. You get the enjoyment and support of a well established product or service.

    3. You avoid the embarrassment of admitting something like "Yes.., I paid 5 thousand dollars for a computer running on a 386 Chip and Windows 3.0 "

    4. You save gobs of money. Enough to have a nice dinner out after enjoying your new p

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Yeah, because we all know that super cheap flights have been sooo conducive to a pleasant experience. But hey, who am I to judge those that get off on being treated like the sexual playthings of perverts then crammed into a tiny tube like cattle.

    • "Yes.., I paid 5 thousand dollars for a computer running on a 386 Chip and Windows 3.0 "

      I paid $3000 for a PC clone running DOS on an 8088. This was before Windows 1.0 came out, and long before Windows 3.0 existed.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Friday August 19, 2011 @11:02AM (#37142702)
    After the thrill of a first flight, (or car journey, or bike ride) any kind of travel quickly becomes mundane. Whether it's the 3 hour wait at the spaceport, the inconvenience of zero-g (esp after airline food) and associated toilets or simply the obnoxious child in the seat behind. So if I do need to take a trip into space, it had better be to somewhere that I *really* want to go.
    • The man has a point.
      Sadly, one I had not thought of. Until there is somewhere to go, why go. Early space flights will be an airline flight to nowhere. You can reproduce this experience now.
      Book a flight to whatever destination you like, and also book the first return flight you can get.

      1. Inconvenience of airport/spaceport security.
      2. Discomfort of airtravel/spacetravel
      3. Seeing scenery you have seen photos of, or can see elsewhere.
      4. Breathing recirculated air.
      5. Annoying people sitting practically
    • by Kjella (173770)

      After the thrill of a first flight, (or car journey, or bike ride) any kind of travel quickly becomes mundane.

      I didn't say I'd take it again - but real zero g? Looking out into space? I'd go just for the trip. I know you can see a space-like sky from a very high altitude airplane as well as take a trip on the vomit comet, but it won't be the same. Not even close. The 3-6 minutes of weightlessness of a suborbital flight just isn't nearly long enough though - even the Vomit Comet provides about 25 seconds, I want LEO.

      The problem is though I have a hard time seeing the price come down far enough. The Falcon Heavy is e

  • I'll sign up for space colonization. First in line, please.

    • Let me know when your colony starts selling beach front real estate.
      • Let me know when your colony starts selling beach front real estate.

        Have you seen the UV index or dust on the Moon or Mars?
        Everywhere is pretty much like being at the beach - at very, very (very) low tide. :-)

  • by Lord Lode (1290856) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:24PM (#37144814)

    Being 100km above the surface of a planet with a radius of 6000km is not what *I* personally call space. Going to the moon starts to be cool enough though :)

    • Being 100km above the surface of a planet with a radius of 6000km is not what *I* personally call space

      If the Earth was a peach, being in LEO wouldn't even get you out of the fuzz.

  • by PPH (736903) on Friday August 19, 2011 @01:44PM (#37145248)

    ... accepting members in the 100 mile high club.

    Seriously, someone must already be planning the first pr0n shoot on a Virgin* Galactic flight.

    *Gotta work that into the title somehow.

      • Well, seats cost a minimum of $200,000 a piece, so a million dollars could get the porn producer five seats. SpaceShipTwo seats six, so a full load is $1.2 million, and I doubt they would run a flight at less than full capacity without being paid for the last seat, so maybe it's just money.

        On the other hand, with the prestige at stake and the size of the waiting list I doubt they'd run a flight less than full for any amount of money for anyone lower than head of state status. You'd piss off way too many
        • by jamesh (87723)

          Well, seats cost a minimum of $200,000 a piece, so a million dollars could get the porn producer five seats. SpaceShipTwo seats six, so a full load is $1.2 million, and I doubt they would run a flight at less than full capacity without being paid for the last seat, so maybe it's just money.

          For $1.2 million I bet they could find a way to make a porn movie look close enough to being in space that the audience wouldn't notice that it wasn't. If they put some naked women in the movie it might help divert the audiences attention...

        • So either way, the lost money isn't worth it, and the lost status probably wouldn't be worth it even if the producers paid the full price of $1.2 million.

          Not to mention all the re-branding they'd have to do once they were no longer 'Virgin' Galactic...

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Let's see... less blood flow to the lower extremities, no way to control the movement of key fluids, thrusts which send your partner slowly drifting across the room... is this supposed to be a porno or a slapstick (ba-dum-tish) comedy?

      Not saying I wouldn't watch it (for the historical value, of course!), but it would be hilariously awkward.

  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Friday August 19, 2011 @02:37PM (#37146208)

    If it enables travelers to get to the other side of the planet in a very short time, it would be awesome

  • .... for that is where I want my ashes to go, with some living schmuck into space and then have my ashed ejected into space. Not the urn, just the ashes. I'd like to become one with Space.

  • They always ruin everything. Once the flights begin, the tourists will probably be out there getting their photographs with the space penguins and messing with their nests.

    Now if the flights got cheap enough to make it practical for a non-NASA scientist to just add it as a line item to a NSF funding proposal, I'd be all over going to space to do science as part of a support team. That's how I got to spend several summers freezing my butt off in the middle of the Greenland ice sheet.

    Space couldn't be any col

  • They're gonna shoot you up at thousands of miles an hour.

    You'll drop like a rock back down (freefall).

    The vehicles skin will encounter elevated temperatures from the atmosphere (even at this suborbital hieght).

    Forget about a parachute (won't help).

    And you say you want it really CHEAP?!?!!?

    • You know there are big tanks of EXPLOSIVES in cars? And inside the engine are EXPLOSIONS!?!?

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        It's only one component of explosive in the tank. This makes it relatively safe compared to other alternatives.

      • by Rei (128717)

        No, there are not. Gasoline is not an explosive under STP conditions. Even at a perfect stoichiometric ratio (which is difficult to achieve), you only get a conflagration, not a detonation. Even in the conditions of an engine where it's pressurized, you don't get detonation (just a fast conflagration); it takes even more pressure than that to get a detonation (which you don't generally want in a car -- we call that "knock" when it occurs inadvertently).

        Hollywood has given people like you this false impre

  • LEO is not somewhere.

    It's a fancy roller-coaster, with one spectacular view.

    For now, it's not much better than a plane ride from New Zealand to Antarctica and back, although New Mexico's a little easier for a West Coaster who avoids TSA to reach than New Zealand.

    Call me when I can emigrate off-planet.

  • Because you can bet your last buck that the TSA will be right there, ready to serve up an unconstitutional anal probe. I'll stick to travel modes in which my fourth amendment rights are respected.

    Now, when those of us who feel that way are rounded up and given a mandatory 1-way trip on a colony ship, I'll go happily. For many reasons.

  • Don't Want to Go (Score:4, Insightful)

    by florescent_beige (608235) on Friday August 19, 2011 @10:54PM (#37150370) Journal
    Joy rides don't thrill me...but I think the rich and powerful should all go because...

    You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that, you son of a bitch."

    ~ Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell

    • by he-sk (103163)

      That's a great quote!

      Not sure about your plan though. The really rich/powerful would probably think something along the lines of "Damn, so much stuff that I don't own/control. Yet."

  • Let them work some bugs out first.
  • ...a big, blue wormhole doesn't gobble me up and spit me out at the far end of the Universe.
  • by cpghost (719344) on Saturday August 20, 2011 @01:34PM (#37154866) Homepage
    But with Ted Striker [] on board, I'll get a bad feeling in my gut for this mission...
  • Stay on Earth! When everybody will be spending their holidays flying in the space, most tourist attractions in this old little Earth will be free from mass tourism, and very comfortable to visit!
  • I'll try it when they find a cure for the form of motion sickness I get. Nausea? I wish. Instead what happens is that I feel a continuous sense of falling. Imagine being pelted with the worst fear you've ever felt continuously. Imagine the feeling of being startled, but with a continuous pump instead of a short burst. My palms have only gotten really sweaty once in my entire life--on a plane. I haven't flown since the early 90s because of this. I'm afraid I'll either black out or freak out up there,

  • The Kerbal space program [] while I wait.

  • by darkwing_bmf (178021) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @01:47PM (#37161966)

    if they said the first few groups of passengers would get free trips while they work out the kinks, I don't think I'd sign up to be on that list.

  • I might consider moving there permanently, but not as a tourist. And permanence would require some reasonable place to live.

    OTOH, when I was 19 I would have gone in a flash. Perhaps even if the trip was one way.

  • In the 1950s when I was in my preteens I put my name on a list at the Hayden Planetarium of people who were interested in booking a trip to the Moon as soon as it was commercially available. I wonder if they still have the list... and how much that might be worth as a mailing list when commercial flights become available.

    They don't have my email address, though, since I didn't have one then. And my postal mailing address is a little out of date.

  • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @09:29PM (#37164294)
    as I see once it becomes real cheap being the same as never.
  • by tsotha (720379)

    I think it'll probably get down to the $10,000 range in my lifetime, but I'll never do it. I can't think of anything less fun than vomiting in a metal can packed with a bunch of strangers. With that kind of money I can spend a week somewhere they put umbrellas in your drink.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman


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