Looking for the ultimate travel adventure? Then have a look at NASA's 15 Space Tourism Visions of the Future and let your imagination run wild!
As of today, only seven people have had the luxury of boarding a flight out of this world and into space. In 2001, American businessman Dennis Tito became the first real space tourist, spending a total of 8 days away from Earth's atmosphere on board the International Space Station. To this date, Space Adventures is the only company successfully offering real space tourism through their partnership with Russian agency Roscosmos, for the price of 20 million dollars. However, several companies are rushing to be able to offer space tourists their own trip to space.
If 20.000 km (12.990 miles) isn't far enough away for the adventures you have in mind, then there is, unfortunately, no other option than to leave planet Earth, simply due to the fact that this distance is the furthest away you can get on Earth from where you are currently standing. This is the same distance as from Madrid (Spain) to Wellington (New Zealand), which are situated on exactly opposite sides of the Earth.
If you feel restricted by this rather limited distance, outer space might be the next destination for you to visit. Although space travel is indeed already available today, the visit to an eventual settlement on other planets is a whole other story. Nevertheless, its never hurts to plan a little ahead of time, or perhaps 100 years ahead of time to be exact. Although space travel will probably never be for budget travelers, the thought of exploring other planets is certainly very intriguing. Through a series of fascinating space tourism posters designed by a creative team of visual strategists known as "The Studio", the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory creatively envisions the Future of Space Travel.
With these 15 posters, NASA strives to "be bold in advancing the edge of possibility so that someday, with the help of new generations of innovators and explorers, these visions of the future can become a reality".
19 The Grand Tour
Advertised as a "Once in a lifetime getaway" the proposed Grand Tour would include orbit travel to the main planets of our solar system. As NASA's unmanned Voyager mission has already revealed data about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, a future trip around these distant planets could include human beings on board. Playing with the thought of a spacecraft able to take passengers to these far-away worlds would provide a spectacular travel destination indeed. As the poster suggests, this travel experience would only be possible every 173 years, when the alignment of these planets would be favorable to space travelers.
As many missions are already in place for the exploration of Mars as a destination not only for space tourism but for permanent human settlement, the poster suggests that in the distant future, a trip to Mars might involve a lot more than just an empty planet view. Considering the vast exploration of Mars already achieved by NASA, this poster advertises a destination where arts, culture, architecture, and agriculture has long been established and would, therefore, be on the list of attractions that the Red Planet would have to offer, in a future, where it will not be the only planet reachable to the human race.
Although sometimes forgotten in the discussion of space travel, Earth would be the safe home we would cherish as the place "where the air is free and breathing is easy". As the center of our existence to this day, the poster predicts that in a future where space travel has become the norm, Earth will be viewed as the nostalgic planet where we used to call home. It would probably be the home of hippies, hipsters and natural medicine lovers alike due to the reputation as "the old land" which the human race has cruelly forgotten in its excitement to live on other planets.
Voted "The best place in the solar system to watch the mercury transit", Venus is the perfect place for cosmic observation. The sight of planetary transits is always a rare sight to experience from the surface of the Earth, sometimes even only possible once during a human lifetime. A trip to Venus, however, would provide a much closer look at these cosmic crossings, making it a true paradise for scientists and planet enthusiasts alike. Advertised as a site for space observation at the imagined Cloud 9 Observatory, Venus would be the dream destination for everyone fascinated with the unique cosmic phenomenon, and an urge to see it all up close.
In 2015, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be explored from its orbit by NASA spacecraft Dawn. Presumed to be a planet dominated by rock and ice, this exoplanet would be a sight for anyone loving a cold dark environment. As the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Ceres would indeed be an interesting planet to explore either in orbit or by landing. Advertised as "the last chance for water until Jupiter" this planet is assumed to contain water based on data and orbit observation.
If you have always dreamed about getting a good long look at the aurora borealis or the aurora australis, then Jupiter should be on your list, when and if it becomes a valid space travel destination some day in the future. Hundreds of times more powerful than Earth's auroras, you would be sure to experience that magic colorful sky we consider so special on Earth. Being two and a half times more massive than all the other planets in the solar system combined, Jupiter would be a mouthful to explore both in orbit and by landing.
According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Saturnian moon of Enceladus is believed to contain a global ocean and even signs of potential hydrothermal activity, the first evidence of this found beyond Earth. This discovery by the Cassini mission has made this moon a primary destination of discovery in the search for possible life beyond Earth. Advertised as the moon of "more than 100 breathtaking geysers", Enceladus could be a significant competitor of prominent Earth destinations famous for geysers such as Iceland and the Yellowstone National Park.
Rivers and lakes of liquid ethane and methane are what one can expect during a future trip to Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Advertised as similar to Earth a billion years ago, this destination would almost provide a look into the early stages of our own past. Apart from being just one of Saturns 62 moons, Titan is the second largest moon in our solar system. If it was not orbiting Saturn, Titan could be considered a planet because it is larger than Mercury, making it an interesting non-planet destination for some extraordinary space tourism exploration.
Not to be confused with the continent, this icy surface moon possibly hides the potential to host simple life forms due to its proximity to Jupiter. NASA has scheduled a mission to land on Europa in 2020 to explore what is hiding under the ice, making this moon a prominent future destination for space travelers and tourists alike due to its presumed favorable environment. Advertised as an underwater experience using what looks like submarines, this moon would presumably provide a look into a world we haven't even fully explored on Earth, namely the deep ocean.
10 51 Pegasi B
Discover in 1995, 51 Pegasi b was the first planet confirmed to orbit a sun-like star, as well as being the first discovered of its kind in a whole new class of planets called Hot Jupiters. Being an extrasolar planet approximately 50 light-years away from Earth, some significant travel time technology is necessary for this planet to be a future space tourism destination. Although it might be hundreds, thousands or millions of years in the future, the thought of such a distant destination possibly becoming a reality is too cool to not consider, at least a little bit.
9 HD 40307G
"A super-Earth". This is what the NASA assumes an eventual trip to dwarf star HD 40307g would reveal. At only 44 short light-years away from Earth, this star would probably be part of an exoplanet travel tour. Advertised as part of the Exoplanet Travel Bureau together with PSO J318.5-22, 51 Pegasi b, Kepler-16b and Kepler 186f, the HD 40307g would supposedly be a part of a longer trip visiting several stars and exoplanets during the same tour. According to Space.com, this planet is likely to be rotating on its own axis making an Earth-like day and night cycle likely here. This fact would theoretically increase the likelihood of life has evolved here.
8 PSO J318.5-22
Only discovered in 2013, this planet belongs to a special class of free-floating planets called rogue. According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, these rogue planets "glow faintly from the heat of their formation and once they cool down, they will be dancing in the dark". At an astonishing 80 light-years away from Earth, this planet is supposedly wandering alone in the galaxy as it does not orbit around a parent star. Presumed to be either failed stars or ejected planets, rogue planets like PSO J318.5-22 is the destination where "the nightlife never ends".
According to NASA, the Trappist-1e offers "a heart-stopping view of brilliant objects in a red sky, in the shape of Earth-sized planets in a spectacular planetary system outside our own". As the most likely to be habitual within this system, Trappist-1e would make a perfect start to a plant-hopping excursion through the whole Trappist-1 System, according to the vision advertisement. As of today, the surroundings of the Trappist-1 system has only been explored through advanced telescopes but gives good promise for future exploration if the possibility of a 40 light-years journey ever becomes a reality.
Part of the imagined Exoplanet Travel Bureau, the Kepler-16b is a science fiction movie look alike like no other. Although very little data exists about this and other exoplanets on this list, the idea of one day visiting "The land of two suns, where your shadow always has company" as a part of a planet cruise or simply during a space holiday is certainly most intriguing. This extraordinary planet orbits a pair of stars, providing a double shadow to anything that exists there. Although prospects for life here are not too good, mostly due to temperatures resembles that of dry ice, it would certainly be a cool destination for orbit travel.
Part of an Exoplanet Tour in case exceptional long-distance travel ever becomes a reality, Kepler-186f could provide visitors with a spectacular sight similar to Earth, but where plants are red instead of green due to its star's red-wavelength photons. Furthermore, it is the first Earth-size planet discovered in the potentially 'habitable zone', and therefore liquid water could exist on the planet's surface perhaps providing the right environment for a photosynthesis to develop. If this is the case, plants might exist on this planet, making it an exceptional destination for future space tourists with an interest in agriculture and environmental development.
5 In The Making: Circumlunar Mission
Although a travel to space with Space Adventures is not only in the making but already a reality, their up-coming Circumlunar Mission promises to take two space tourists around the far-side of the Moon and back no later than early 2020. Hereby they provide "a unique opportunity for a private citizen to become one of the great explores of the 21st century". Already including a possibility to do a Space Walk during your trip to the International Space Station, Space Adventures are indeed the most advanced space tourism company in existence today.
4 In The Making: Luxury In Orbit
While space tourism is still no comparison in luxury and extravaganza to some travel destinations on Earth and is certainly not going to provide travelers with cherished elements such as tropical beaches, rainforests or sunsets by the fireplace, the Orion Span Mission might soon provide an alternative to the kind of space tourism known today. The Aurora Station will be the world's first luxury hotel located in orbit 200 miles above the Earth's surface, providing travelers and tourists with much more comfort than previously seen in the space tourism industry. Definitely worth the consideration if you are into more luxurious travel destinations beyond the surface of the Earth!
3 In The Making: Mars 2117 Project
A 100-year project initiated on February 14. 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Mars 2117 seeks to establish the first colony on Mars by the year 2117. Although this project is not simply about tourism, there is no denying that a visit to The City of Wisdom would probably be on most travelers bucket list should it become a reality. Planning to launch the project by 2020, the United Arab Emirates will not only focus on building a settlement on the Red Planet but will also seek to develop faster means of transportation to and from Mars. For a sneak peak of the Mars, settlement visit the Virtual Reality Tour tool provided by the UAE at www.futurism.com.
2 In The Making: One Way Ticket To Mars
There are several huge projects in stall for the exploration of Mars during the coming decades. One of these is the Mars One Project, aiming to send a group of people to Mars by 2022, without a return ticket. Applications to the project started back in 2013 and received over 10.000 applications from individuals ready to build a colony on the red planet and never return to Earth again. Although this project is meant as much more than a simple tourist destination, for now, this mission might provide the seeds to a type of space tourism which does not only involve orbit travel but an actual landing as well.
1 Possible Today: Exoplanet Travel Bureau
If you just can't wait to explore distant planets on your own, there is a solution indeed. Although not an actual trip to exoplanets Trappist-1e, Kepler-16b or Kepler-186f, this virtual reality tool from the NASA Exoplanet Travel Bureau will let you explore the surfaces of exoplanets from the comfort of your living room. Although the tool is created on an artist's impression of these planets, and is based on quite limited data, it sure is a quick, convenient and entertaining way to experience the thrill of space exploration, and to be ready for the sight of distant worlds if you ever get the chance to see one for yourself.
References: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Space Adventures, Mars-One, Orion Span.