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Got $1.5 billion to spare? How about a trip to the moon?

December 06, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • Start-up company Golden Spike wants to fly space tourists to the moon. It'll cost you $750 million per ticket, but you'll have to book two tickets at a time.
Start-up company Golden Spike wants to fly space tourists to the moon. It'll… (National Geographic )

I know, I know: It's so hard to find just the right holiday gift for some people.

So how about a trip to the moon?

All you'll need is $750 million per ticket. But you'll have to book two tickets at a time, meaning that you'll be writing a check for $1.5 billion.

A bargain, right?

The lunar excursion is being offered by start-up company Golden Spike, which says it's "the first company planning to offer routine exploration expeditions to the surface of the moon."

Yeah, not a whole lot of competition on this front quite yet.

Golden Spike plans to get a hold of existing space gear and repurpose it for commercial missions.

"We know how to do this," former NASA science administrator Alan Stern says. "The difference is now we have rockets and space capsules in the inventory. ... We don’t have to invent them from a clean sheet of paper. We don’t have to start over."

Golden Spike says its plans have been green-lighted by a former space shuttle commander, a space shuttle program manager and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. So you know they're serious.

And as if that weren't enough, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is on the company's board of advisors. As you'll recall, he was campaigning for the presidency with his platform of seeking a permanent moon base by 2021.

Is this really for tourists? Well, there are certainly a few billionaires who might jump at the chance to walk in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong. Oracle's Larry Ellison comes to mind.

But the more likely candidates are countries that lack their own space program but have been long awaiting the chance to place their own people on the lunar surface. For instance, will we never see astronauts from Uzbekistan?

Me, I'm kind of figuring that private-sector moon travel is still a bit of a pipe dream. I'd settle for a decent subway system in Los Angeles.

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