One in three Brits wants a trip to space. As celebrations and events around the world mark United Nations World Space Week, until October 10, travel association ABTA reveals that a third of us would love to reach for the stars.
Thirty per cent of the public said they would love to travel into space given the chance and another 20% would be prepared to give it a go once travel into space has been test driven.
The younger generation are much keener on taking an inter-planetary trip with 43% saying they’d go, which climbs to 73% once it has been test driven. Thirty eight per cent of men say they would love to travel into space climbing to 60% once test driven, but only 23% of women are keen, climbing to just 41% after it is tested. Interest wanes drastically with age with 69% of 55-64 year olds and 73% of 65+s wanting their feet firmly on the ground.
For many years achieving this ambition was totally impossible. But in 2001 it moved from being impossible to just being eye wateringly expensive, as Dennis Tito, earth’s first space tourist, blasted off to the International Space Station, having paid $20m for the privilege. So far only six others have followed his example but more “affordable” options are becoming available.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is far down the road of being able to offer trips into space for a mere $250,000 with reports suggesting their first flight will be in early 2014. Celebrities including Justin Bieber, Brangelina and Michael Schumacher are reportedly amongst the high rollers who’ve signed up for a flight. And a Dutch company is looking for volunteers for the ultimate trip – manning a space station on Mars whilst being filmed for a reality TV show, a kind of extra-terrestrial Big Brother. The only drawback being the journey is so expensive they’re only offering a one-way ticket!
Victoria Bacon, of ABTA (www.abta.com), said: “A hundred years ago the idea of being able to fly to Australia in 24 hours would have been laughed at or seen as science fiction; now it’s commonplace. At present leisure space travel is in its infancy, but the history of the travel industry shows that when there exists a clear public appetite for a destination or experience, a combination of technological and entrepreneurial know-how will make it happen.”