Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Final Frontier

Back in 2004 I toured the Southwest, part of which included a TravelQuest International bus tour of sites related to outer space (astronomy, space exploration, UFO's). If there's a solar eclipse coming up, no doubt TQ has tours to areas where it can be seen. For the Aug. 1 eclipse they have four different tours: Russia, China, North Pole by icebreaker, and North Pole by aircraft.

If icebreaking to the North Pole is not daring enough for you, I just got an email from TQ announcing flights into outer space starting in 2010 for a mere $200,000. Considering the Russians have been offering flights to the space stations for about $20 million, this seems like a bargain. But they are only suborbital flights. Alan Shepard's first Mercury flight lasted only 15 minutes, enough time to experience weightlessness for a few minutes.

Of course TQ is just the travel agency. The spaceline is called Virgin Galactic run by, of course, Richard Branson. Rather than plunk down the $200K, I'll wait and see if discount tickets become available.