Although humans have explored much of the planet and its surroundings, some pockets remain inaccessible to all but the wealthiest.
For $100 million individuals can pay to orbit the moon in a Russian spacecraft and for $20 million they can spend a week on the International Space Station.
The more conservative can spend half a million dollars to fly to the beginnings of space or $250,000 to visit the depths of the planet’s oceans.
In recent decades, new industries tailored to billionaire tourists have emerged, pioneered by some of the most renowned capitalists, including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk.
“The rich, they love rockets,” Donald Trump said during a 2018 Cabinet meeting on private investment in space. ‘It’s good. It’s better that we pay them.
These guys also like subs. Branson, who founded Virgin Galactic to take private citizens into space, founded Virgin Oceanic in 2014 to visit the deepest waters on earth.
British billionaire Hamish Harding, aboard the submarine that disappeared over the weekend during a tour of the wreck of the Titanic, had also visited the Mariana Trench in 2021 and a year later was in space with Blue Origin.
Richard Branson, known for founding Virgin Galactic, also focused on the waters. In 2014, he launched Virgin Oceanic to reach the deepest points in the world’s oceans. He is pictured on a submarine in 2011
Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin, which takes tourists to space, and directly competes with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic
Branson and Bezos founded Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin respectively. Bezos’ Blue Origin took paying customers of its New Shepard capsule to the edges of space where they feel weightless for a few minutes and back.
Although Blue Origin does not disclose the price of these tickets, its direct competitor, Virgin Galactic, is currently selling seats for $450,000.
But other lesser-known companies have been in the business for decades and have taken billionaires not just into orbital flight, but even on trips to the International Space Station.
The advent of space tourism is associated with the fact that Dennis Tito, an American investment manager, paid $20 million for a seven-day trip to the International Space Station in 2001.
The operation was the result of an agreement between the Russian company MirCorp and the American company Space Adventures Ltd and was seen as a way to generate money to finance the maintenance of the aging international space station.
It was founded in 1998 and has since taken a number of ultra-wealthy private citizens to the station.
Californian millionaire Dennis Tito is believed to be the first space tourist. He is pictured in 2001 exiting a Russian Soyuz rocket
Dennis Tito, pictured with his wife in 2022, booked a flight to the moon on SpaceX’s spacecraft that year
Since 2007, he has been offering a trip around the Moon on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft for $100 million, which “will take you a few hundred miles from the surface of the Moon.”
“It’s not just about working for the government or being a fighter pilot or NASA, it’s now available to you and me,” its president Eric Anderson said in a video promoting its trips to the ISS last year.
“We changed what it means to be an astronaut. Space Adventures is the original space experiences company that empowers individuals with the ability to fly in space,” he added.
Among his clients are Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, Charles Simonyi, software engineer at Microsoft, and Richard Garriott, computer game developer.
He organized the flight of Japanese billionaire and fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa to the ISS in December 2021.
‘I’m so curious, “What is life like in space?” So, I plan to find out for myself and share with the world,” Maezawa said in a statement earlier that year. A few months after completing this trip, he said he would also visit the Mariana Trench.
In December, the 47-year-old announced he would travel around the moon with Musk’s rocket and satellite company SpaceX at some point this year, which would make him the first private passenger on a mission. SpaceX lunar.
Space Adventures Ltd arranged Japanese billionaire and fashion mogul Yusaku Maezawa’s flight to the ISS in December 2021
Laliberté paid $35 million for a 10-day visit to the International Space Station and became the first Canadian space tourist
Space tourism has also become a means of financing expensive and unprofitable trips to space in the hope that research and technological advancements will eventually drive down costs.
Mike Gold, associate administrator for space policy and partnerships at NASA, told The Washington Post in 2018 that such sponsorships are helpful.
“Just like in the early days of aviation, with barnstorming, these initial activities will help build the infrastructure and foundations that can lead to future innovations that, frankly, we can’t imagine right now,” he said. -he declares.
The NASA website suggests that reaching low Earth orbit is akin to summiting Everest – which over the years has become increasingly accessible but was once a privilege reserved for the particularly wealthy.
Between the turn of the 20th century and the 1970s, attempts to climb Everest were extremely expensive and rare – only skilled and determined climbers cared.
From the 1990s, climbing Everest became increasingly commercialized and the cost dropped significantly. Over the past few decades, a climber can expect to spend between $30,000 and $100,000 to climb the highest peak in the world.
The number of commercial ascents of Everest has increased from almost zero in 1970 to around 600 in 2019. The mountain has been overcrowded in recent years, preventing climbers from descending properly.
One of Everest’s most famous commercial ascents was documented by journalist Jon Krakauer, who convinced his employer, Outside Magazine, to fund a 1996 summit attempt he would write about.
“The plain truth is that I knew better but went to Everest anyway.” And in doing so, I was complicit in the deaths of good people, which is likely to remain in my conscience for a very long time, ”he concludes in the introduction to a memoir.
Above 7,500 meters in what is known as the mountain’s death zone, commercial climbers swarmed the mountain and traffic blocked climbers from descending when a storm hit, killing eight climbers.
“Trying to climb Everest is an inherently irrational act – a triumph of desire over sensibility,” he wrote in the introduction to a memoir.
The number of commercial ascents of Everest has risen from almost zero in 1970 to around 600 in 2019, according to a compilation of Himalayan expedition records. The Himalayas in numbers.
In a famous photo taken on Everest in 2019, a number of commercial climber tourists could be seen lined up along a path near its summit.
In this photo taken in May 2019, a long line of climbers lines a path on Mount Everest. About half a dozen climbers had died the previous week while descending from the crowded summit
In 2014, a Google executive, Alan Eustace, made headlines after jumping from a balloon near the top of the stratosphere. He was lifted in a spacesuit to an altitude of approximately 130,000 feet by a helium-filled balloon.
After jumping, he spent about 15 minutes falling to earth equipped with a parachute, a jump for which he broke a Guinness World Record.
Texas billionaire Jim Clark has spent more than $15 million on a 100ft yacht known as the Comanche in hopes of building “the fastest boat ever”.
Billionaires’ plans to conquer uncharted territory have been met with widespread criticism.
In 2021, Prince William told the BBC that the wealthiest people shouldn’t focus on exploration.
“We need some of the greatest brains and minds in the world who are committed to trying to fix this planet, not trying to find the next place to live,” he said.
‘[It] is really crucial to focus on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading off into space to try to think of solutions for the future.
Similarly, Bill Gates attacked Elon Musk for investing his money in rockets and not vaccines. He told the BBC earlier this year: ‘It’s actually quite expensive to go to Mars. You can buy measles vaccines and save lives for $1,000 per life saved.