TRAVEL | SCIENCE
From Issue #6
Your Next Big Vacation
How about a trip to the moon?
Can Bui, 17
you ever had that fantasy to visit the moon, grab a rock and
throw it into space so it would float forever? Soon, if you've
got the cash, you can!
the Artemis Project. This new and bold project is a private
venture that will "establish a permanent, self-supporting
manned lunar base," which translates into a community on
the moon for people to live in.
to Gregory Bennett, the founder of the Artemis Project, "It's
not a question of whether it'll work, but rather how long it
July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot
on the moon. That moment became a crowning achievement in both
the space community and for humanity itself.
the significance of the occasion, almost certainly when viewers
saw images of his weightless, bouncing figure they thought,
"That looks like fun!"
the Artemis team is taking a realistic approach to a human fantasy:
they are marketing the project of a lunar base as purely entertainment.
One small step for man, one giant leap for entertainment!
They plan to pay for the initial stages of the project through
commercialism. After all, Kurt Cobain summed up the state of
our nation when he sang, "Here we are now, entertain us!"
And the records show that we will pay to be entertained.
Suhler & Associates are investment bankers for the communications
and media industries. Their research found that Americans spent
over $40 billion dollars (all amounts in US$) to be entertained
at the movies, through home videos and television in 1999.
investor, Dennis Tito, recently took a trip to the International
Space Station, after donating $20 million dollars to the Russian
Space program. Wealthy celebrities like Canadian director James
Cameron and the brothers of rock band Oasis have also voiced
their interest to visit the big ball in the sky.
the same report by Veronis, Suhler & Associates, consumers
spent close to $4 billion dollars on video-game software alone.
So, for a mere $1.42 billion dollars the Artemis Project is
a drop in the entertainment bucket.
project expects to pay for the initial lunar base primarily
by exploiting the fun factor of the grand adventure of space
flight. Planners expect to make the experience so much fun that
net revenues from the entertainment value of the project, through
its first flight, will be more than US$5 billion. These revenue
estimates are based on comparisons to similiar mass-marketing
ventures which tie movies and television shows in with associated
merchandise and services.
the real challenge of the program is to make it fun!
the United States government does not encourage this project,
there are those at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), who support the program. "I wish commercial enterprise
would be more commercial, and stop running to Uncle Sugar every
time they want to do something," says NASA Administrator
what will a two-week vacation to the moon cost? Apparently,
the price you would expect to pay for a luxury-class European
capital tour, or probably less than $10,000. For that, you would
play in zero gravity, sightsee for the few days it takes to
get to the moon, of course, moon walk and if you're in the mood,
perhaps take a bus tour.
first, the expedition-class flights would be for rugged explorers,
the sort of trip that will appeal to safari-goers, mountain
climbing types and perhaps hidden cave adventurers. Eventually,
the lunar tourism industry will grow into luxury-class trips
suitable for the casual sightseer.
bound student, Al Dharsee says, "I would certainly go to
the moon, if given the opportunity, so that I could look at
the Earth and laugh. But with the way we treat our own planet,
I don't think we deserve to set foot on any planets or moons
for that matter."
if you are one of those ready to book a flight, don't pack your
bags quite yet, your flight is not scheduled to depart for at
least a couple of decades.