Wired posted an article recently about how scientists are among the first in line to get tickets on privately-owned spacecraft. Not only that, they are writing up ground-breaking — or maybe better said, sky-breaking — contracts with the fledgling industry for multiple flights and room for research equipment.
I had a set of grandparents who were were born in the 1890’s, and growing up I heard firsthand accounts of how technology changed the 20th Century. Cars and planes were invented and reshaped society; warfare evolved from horseback to tanks and jet fighters; TV and radio made the world smaller the more they integrated themselves in the everyday life. My grandparents lived into their 80’s and saw incredible change including man walking on the moon. What an amazing time to be alive; how much history they witnessed!
I believe future generations will think the same as us. In my short life I’ve seen the dawn of the computer age, the explosion of the internet, land-line phones being replaced by mobile phones, and now portable computers disguised as smart phones. I think we’ll also be known as the generation who witnessed the beginning of what David Weber calls in his fiction The Diaspora: mankind leaving his home world and spreading outward to find new places to work and live.
According to the article, right now space flight is initially being offered to the masses for $200,000 a seat. Undoubtedly prices will come down. And soon we’ll see orbital hotels (now in development) for longer visits to space. What price would you be willing to pay for one of the first seats to the age to come?