It seems as if space is becoming the next 5G. The only difference is that the hype war now involves Governments. News is coming in almost daily of China heading to the dark side of the moon, Russia wanting to establish a monitoring station on the moon, SpaceX doing this and launching that. Bigger and better and in larger numbers than everyone else.
Then there is the hotel in space, which is launching soon.
Soon? What exactly is ‘soon’?
With 5G it was about 10 years and that was a terrestrial technology that would transform our lives and take us all to the next stage of blissful, well, blissfulness. That was a long and winding road and is still not with most of us.
Then there is the autonomous car. Another 10 years of hype and tests and trials and one or two tragedies. And are we ready to go? No.
The reasons are generally safety and regulation. With technology, there is that wind swept part of us that wants it all and wants it now but it just isn’t grown up enough for the world we live in and inevitably things slow down. And sometimes stop altogether.
Now we are being offered space hotels. Soon.
“It sounds kind of crazy to us today because it is not a reality yet,” said Frank Bunger, founder of US aerospace firm Orion Span, one of the companies vying to take travellers out of this world.
But that’s the nature of these things, it sounds crazy until it is normal.”
Yup, little bit crazy.
Apart from the normal craziness of the idea, there is the mountain of data that is being collected on, for instance, what happens to the human body in space. It doesn’t work the same way that it works on earth – obviously. The brain changes, bones weaken, organs don’t behave properly and when you get home it doesn’t just go back to normal in a day or two.
So until we have not only found out what the real effects of space are and how to combat them and then had the conversations and made decisions about rules in space, we cannot go to Sheraton SpaceTel.
As Mr Bunger of Orion Span says, “There is not one government in the world that has caught up to the reality that tourists are trying to go into space.”
Words fail us.
You may say that the safety stuff only affects long term visits to space by grown up astronauts but the legal stuff says ‘if we are charging $9 million for a City Break in the sky, we need to be bullet proof because people who can afford one of those can also afford very expensive lawyers if it goes wrong’.
Hotels and holidays in space ‘soon’? ‘Get us outta here Scotty’.
Meanwhile, remember this great programme – Pigs in Space?