Technological advances, including progress in aerodynamics and the recent space travel inventions of Branson and Bezos, are enabling humans to soar into the edge of space. Tourism beyond earth is becoming more of a reality than a pipedream. In space and on other planets, life as we know it is remarkably absent, so is it plausible to think that lunar tourism will soon be popular?
The predictions of experts range from ten years to one hundred years. In one estimation, on the earlier side, tourists can be on the moon by 2031. Per Professor of Law and Director of the Global Space Center at Cleveland State University, Mark J. Sundahl, “How ‘ordinary’ these tourists are will depend on the ticket price, but that will come down in time.” He explains that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and friends are scheduled to circumnavigate the moon on SpaceX’s Starship in 2023. A new wave of astronauts is expected to land on the moon’s surface in the same spacecraft. Thus, steady groups of tourists will not be long after. Among the “it will happen later” crowd are Wendy N. Whitman Cobb, Associate Professor, Strategy and Security Studies, U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. “If we continue at our current rate of progress, it might be by the end of the 21st century at earliest.” There are multiple factors, including the inability for countries to sustain program popularity and support and countries and companies lacking interest and opting to focus on Mars instead.
Going to the moon is an exciting thought. Many of us remain inspired by Neil Armstrong’s 1969 walk on the lunar surface when he famously said, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” And, when we think of the future of space travel within our solar system, we can appreciate how far we have come in terms of science and exploration. We can also find inspiration in the whole new appetite for space adventure that now exists, which one day may grant each one of us the phenomenal opportunity to visit the moon.