Monday, January 01, 2007

The Super Wealthy - Part 2

I feel that I'm on a roll today, so I'll keep going and make my original post into a 3 part discussion. In this second posting I'll hazard some guesses as to why the super wealthy are not investing in space travel, and in the final part I'll speculate about some remedies. Please keep in mind though, I have a job, I also have to work, so don't expect too much! :)

Here are the 5 main reasons I thought of for why really rich people don't invest in space travel.

1. Lack of credibility or 'the giggle factor'. There is a very obvious problem in the minds of most people - it can't be done for less than a few billion or the resources of a well financed national government. I'm talking about space stations and RLV's here, so there is some truth in this objection. Of course the space station problem is being taken care of as we speak, but launch vehicles are another story.

2. It's dangerous! You bet it's dangerous. No-one wants to take their guests up for a week of luxury on an orbiting space habitat only to have them go down in a blaze of glory without a chance to savour their guest's awe and envy for several months after the trip.

3. It's uncomfortable (and undignified). Martini's and zero-g don't mix (at least not in an open glass). Come to think of it a lot of things don't mix with zero-g, although some things might mix rather well in zero-g. Space sickness and the necessity for toilet training come to mind as potential turn offs. Also the acceleration forces between Earth and orbit would doubtless be unpleasant to some.

4. It lacks class. All those pipes and wires and tin foil are a bit dreary compared with the custom decor available for luxury yachts and hotels. The shuttle transport is cramped and the service on the shuttle is limited to bottled water and bathroom assistance.

5. Too public. There are 2300 megayachts operational around the world according to U.S. Submarines (see previous post) but we are hardly aware of them because the super rich generally want to keep to themselves and avoid those pesky journalists and photographers. That being the case, why would they then want to suddenly leap into the public eye with their brand new spaceship?

There may well be other objections as well but this is a start. Perhaps if a stray billionaire is reading this, he or she can let me know if I'm on the right track.


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