When one thinks of space travel, one usually thinks of NASA, Neil Armstrong, etc. This space travel has been around for decades; however, much of this is purely scientific, government funded activity. What many people have fantasized about for years, in the form of series such as Star Trek and Star Wars, is a society where individuals may interact with different planets and potentially enter space for pleasure or transport, and not have to go through massive amounts of schooling in order to venture outside Earth. However, this travel may be present in our very near future. As a matter of fact, you can travel into the topmost parts of the atmosphere right now! Of course, the travel cost would considerably dwarf the average plane ticket, with the average cost of space travel being about 200,000 USD per head. No wonder only millionaires forked over the cash for casual space travel.
Near-earth orbit flights are, despite the cost, very feasible and there are a few companies who sent craft carrying their wealthy patrons into the penultimate layers of our atmosphere. These companies include SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. There are two to three days of preparation and training before the flight, and then the citizen astronauts take off. The flights last 2.5 hours, the bulk of which is spent in zero-gravity. Then, the space plane lands, and it’s occupants join the rest of humanity. The experience itself isn’t much, according to former director of the International Space Station Chris Hadfield. He states, “they are just going to go up and fall back down again.” However, one must think of casual space travel’s ramifications regarding the human race in general. A century ago, humans invented the airplane. Now, we can send other human beings into orbit with relative ease.