Ever had the childhood dream of traveling to the moon? If you answered an emphatic “yes,” welcome to the club. However, unless you plan on becoming a NASA astronaut any time soon, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to experience weightlessness or traverse the rocky surface of our brilliant moon. After all, only 18 people – all of which are American and men – have orbited the moon. Only 12 have landed on the lunar surface. Luckily, this is the 21st century. If you can’t become a NASA astronaut, there are other alternatives, some costly, and some not.
3 Ways To Almost Become A NASA Astronaut:
1. GOLDEN SPIKE
The Golden Spike Company is currently working on providing private sector human expeditions to the moon, using existing space systems. The company aims to get its first mission off the ground by 2020, and is raising funds for the journey. Though the mission is aimed for corporations and countries without their own space programs, wealthy individuals can also hop onboard if they can afford it. The price for such a journey? $1.5 billion for a two-person trip (we recommend splitting the costs).
2. SPACE ADVENTURES, LTD.
Using Russian space vehicles, Space Adventures will fly two private citizens and one professional cosmonaut around the far-side of the Moon. For the price, participants will enjoy a “slingshot ride around the moon”, come within 100km of the lunar surface, view earth rising above the moon, and possibly stop at the International Space Station (ISS), located 260 miles above Earth. The ticket for the ride is $150 million, and will take 16-17 days. Compared to NASA’s multibillion-dollar Apollo moon missions, this is practically a bargain. The first mission is expected to launch by 2018.
3. GOOGLE EARTH
If none of these options are feasible for you, there’s always the cheaper route. Google Earth now offers a virtual tour of lunar landing sites, which features 3D models of the spacecraft used in moon missions, as well as the footprints left by astronauts. The tour is also narrated by a few of the Apollo astronauts. All you have to do is head over to this link to experience the moon like never before. Seriously, what can’t Google do?
Although we may not be able to travel to the moon just yet, experiencing flight is as close as we can get to the real deal. Here is what it feels like to soar: