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June 27, 2011

Will Mars be explored by space tourists?

TECHNOLOGY - A Canadian teen will become the youngest person ever to go into space. The boy, currently 17, is from Calgary, Canada, and was signed up for a reserve seat aboard one of Virgin Galactic's orbital spaceships.

So far 440 people have paid deposits for trips aboard billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceships. Each person has pass a test and training practices, and be at least 18, to go. Nobody else under 18 has paid a deposit so far.

Russian cosmonaut Gherman Titov was the youngest person ever to go to orbit. He orbited the earth in August 1961 at the age of 25.

So far 23 Canadians — 17 men and 6 women — have signed up, paying $200,000 USD each. (People interested in going into space should contact the Vision 2000 Travel Group, which books all the Virgin Galactic flights in Canada.) Most of the Canadians who have signed up are from Alberta (10) and Ontario (6). The people from Alberta include 2 oil tycoons, a dentist and business entrepreneurs.

People interested in going are recommended they try weightlessness first (inside a plane diving at a speed that matches the speed of gravity).

The $55 million in deposits from 440 people worldwide has been put towards building ships capable of making sub-orbital flights and eventually orbital flights as they perfect the technology.

After being launched from a mother ship, a two-piloted rocket plane would take six tourists per flight about 110 kilometres above Earth — where they will experience weightlessness and be able to look down at the Earth from space.

The first spaceship is currently undergoing safety testing and is expected to start taking tourists up in approx. June 2012.

“Obviously we want to be 100 per cent sure that we got every single little safety detail right,” says Richard Branson. “But the moment we’re ready to go, we’ll be going.”

“I’d rather not forecast, but I mean 10 to 15 years from now, we should have got it down below $50,000,” he said. “Once the ball really starts rolling and we get large numbers, then the price could come down even further.”

Which brings us to the topic of Mars...

If by 2025 they're offering space flights for a mere $50,000, how much would it cost to become a Mars colonist / pioneer?

Lets say for example by 2050 a corporation was offering people a chance to become a Mars colonist for $1 million each? And being colonists, most people who make the choice to go there would probably not want to go alone. So think $2 million for each young couple looking to go. (Not to be ageist, but anybody under the age of 30 should be rejected because of lack of stamina / ability to rear children.)

Its been previously stated my many scientists that it would be cheaper to build a colony ship to go to Mars than to attempt to make a ship which could land on the surface and take off from the surface / return to the Mars' orbit. If anything it might be impossible to build such a shuttle because Mars lacks the infrastructure to boost the shuttle back into space.

Thus a colony ship solves the problem. Anyone who goes there is becoming a "permanent tourist" on Mars. A pioneer. An explorer. People who have gone where no man has gone before.

And honestly, at the rate NASA is going, they won't be doing a mission to Mars until 2100. Its entirely possible that space tourists could be the first to colonize Mars simply because NASA is so underfunded.

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