Your Moon Shot for $100 Million

I'm back from lovely vacation, relaxed and rejuvenated, although perhaps not quite as relieved to be home as Commander Eileen Collins and her crew.

Congratulations Discovery on a successful
two weeks in orbit which proved, among other things, that being a shuttle astronaut is no vacation, and nothing like third year of law school, which as everyone knows, naturally consists of nothing but a lot of beer and softball.

And while NASA prepares the next shuttle,
Atlantis, for another humble trip to LEO, many private space flight enthusiasts look ahead to their own dream trip, and not a moment too soon: Space Adventures today announced it is offering a roundtrip private excursion to the moon for $100 million.

Landing not included. (No mention of payment in
NASA coins, either.)

Of course, Space Adventures isn't the first company to come up with the idea of a $100 million lunar tourist mission. Constellation Services International, a small California space company talked with James Oberg last year about its
Lunar Express idea to send private passengers to the moon.

Oberg quotes space lawyer Arthur Dula as saying of the plan, "Wow, zow, this is a great idea. The project is entirely possible. Wish I had thought of it." Dula also called it the idea a "paradigm shifter." (And for those of you Probe readers who are not space lawyers, yes, "wow, zow" is a standard legal jargon.)

(But here's the real $100 million question. Who will put a person on the moon first-- NASA or Space Adventures? This week
Sam Dinkin asked vice chairman of Space Adventures, Richard Garriott. Garriott's answer may or may not surprise you. Meanwhile, as we all remember, no Earthlings have cruised our beloved moon since Apollo 17 astronauts departed the lunar surface on December 14, 1972.)

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