2015

Stories related to "Booth 101 An Introduction To."

perspectives

On a Mission to Send 'Citizen Astronauts' to the Stars

Special people go into space. In 58 years, fewer than 570 astronauts from 37 countries, most of them highly trained scientists and aerospace professionals, have traveled to space, almost entirely through government-backed programs. Soon, probably this year, the Federal Aviation Administration will certify for-profit space travel companies and, according to industry members, special people of a different sort will be able to travel into space at $250,000 each. However, as futurist Buckminster Fuller said, “The Earth is a spaceship,” which means that we are astronauts—all of us, not just the special people. “If we don’t democratize space, it will be the province of the ultrawealthy,” said Ulisses Meneses Ortiz, ’16, director of international affairs at Space for Humanity, a company that intends to be that force for democratization. Space for Humanity will give 10,000 private citizens from around the world all-expenses-paid trips to space so that they can be ambassadors for space exploration and help solve some of Earth’s most intractable problems. Space for Humanity sees itself as an education provider rather than a space travel transportation provider. The company will place passengers on spacecraft manufactured and launched by others, partnering with all available providers to allow for the greatest diversity in spaceflights. Its travelers will receive leadership training before they blast off and mentoring after they return. Would-be passengers must have a reason beyond the “way cool” motivation for wanting to go. Of the 100 or so applicants to date, almost all have terrestrial projects they want to tackle when they come back.