Exotic destinations or travel by private plane may seem like a holiday for the poor compared to space travel. Increasingly more advanced technology and a ton of money, that’s a combo that allows celebrities to push the boundaries of their holiday experience beyond our planet.
Michaela Musilová is an astrobiologist who focuses on researching life in extreme conditions. She currently works as the head of the HI-SEAS research station, which, in collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency, conducts simulated missions to the Moon and Mars. The goal is to prepare personnel and technology so that humanity can one day live and work on these extraterrestrial objects.
"We carry out various researches, we grow plants in simulated conditions, we study lava tunnels, because there could still be life in similar structures on Mars today, and we also test robots and robotic vehicles, including a rover manufactured in Slovakia,"
Simulated missions also serve to test human relationships. The HI-SEAS station’s habitat is only 12 meters in diameter and six people spend weeks, sometimes months in it, more or less giving up the right to privacy. Under a strict regime, intervention from the outside is only allowed in potentially life-threatening emergencies.
"Astronauts are trained here for a number of challenging situations. There are even protocols for dealing with a situation where an astronaut on a mission has to be notified that something bad has happened on Earth. The book Martian captures such an event quite well. Concealing the truth from the crew can often have even worse consequences, which is why it’s best to proceed carefully, but with honesty. Astronauts are trained to increase their tolerance for stress from the beginning,"
Outer space is very dangerous for humans. There is no air in it. Michaela Musilová explains for LP-Life.com how breathing works in space.
"In space, there is a vacuum, so first of all, as humans, we wouldn’t have anything to breathe. Without a spacesuit, one would die for a variety of reasons, including suffocating or their lungs exploding due to the difference in pressure between the body and the outside environment, if they tried to hold their breath. In addition, all fluids would evaporate from their body, they would freeze in the shade, and alternatively, they could be fatally burned if exposed to sunlight without protection. At the space station, an astronaut could contract a respiratory illness from other astronauts. Astronauts currently have to spend some time in quarantine before their mission begins, so they shouldn't have any easily transmissible diseases. But that may change as space tourism becomes more common.”
The first generation of astronauts went through the most stringent medical and psychological tests as part of their preparation for space flight. At that time, nobody had any idea how the human body would respond to acceleration, weightlessness and radiation. The first astronauts had to be in excellent physical condition. The first group of candidates for astronauts in the Soviet Union was selected from the ranks of fighter pilots. The candidates had to be under thirty years of age, have a maximum height of 170 cm and a maximum weight of 70 kg. They had to be in excellent health, which precluded even regular tonsillitis. For example, the candidates had to stand in freezing water for 20 minutes without subsequently falling ill or go without sleep for 72 hours. At present, the criteria for selecting new astronauts are much less severe.
The first Slovak cosmonaut Ivan Bella confirmed that he had to pass several demanding psychological and medical tests as part of the selection procedure.
"One of them consisted of us being taken to a height of 7,500 meters in the vacuum chamber at the Military Aviation Hospital in Košice, which is 500 meters below the survival limit. At that altitude, we had to take off our breathing apparatus and solve mathematical equations in the thin air,"
If you’re also planning to look at our Earth from a slightly different perspective one day, we bring you an overview of private companies that will make it possible for you.
Virgin Galactic, a company owned by British billionaire Richard Branson, will take you to an altitude of 80 or 100 kilometres above the earth's surface. In order to spend one hour at the aforementioned altitude, you have to undergo training. This one-hour-long trip (along with training and renting a spacesuit) will cost you about 5 million crowns. More than 600 people have already booked a ticket at Virgin Galactic.
The Blue Origin company is less passenger-friendly. Billionaire Jeff Bezos and his brother paid 588 million crowns for the first tickets. However, the price for ordinary people won’t be as high. The company has not yet officially opened sales, only the registration form is available. Bezos booked a private flight, which made his trip countless times more pricey. Let’s wait and see how much it would cost for you.
One of the richest men on the planet has already been on a trip into space. He didn't even need a negative Covid test to be allowed to go. On July 20, 2021, he and his crew took off for a test flight in a rocket called New Shepard. He says it was his lifelong dream that finally came true this year.
Elon Musk will also fly to space with the Branson Company, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. It is not yet clear when this trip will take place. The price of his ticket to space is about 5 million crowns, but he has only paid a deposit of about 216,000 crowns so far.
Sarah Brightman was supposed to sing on the International Space Station in 2015, but her flight was cancelled back then. Let’s hope her dream will come true soon...
The man who loves to boast that nothing is impossible for him. His desire to explore space was so great that he founded the Virgin Galactic spaceflight company. It has already attracted more than 600 people who have booked a flight into space. Branson himself became an "astronaut" on July 11, 2021, which officially makes him the first billionaire to see the Earth from space. Bezos lost the race by nine days.
Rihanna has long been fascinated by extraterrestrial life, and so she decided to venture into space herself. Unfortunately, her chances of meeting an alien race are about the same as swimming with dolphins on a crowded beach in Croatia.
Yes, even Tom Hanks already has a ticket. Reportedly, he was one of the first people to sign in for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo program. Why not, if he has enough money to spend some 4 million crowns for a few-hour-long trip.
Once spaceflight really hits off, Leonardo will be the next in line. He bought a ticket with Virgin Galactic as soon as in 2013.
The star of the sci-fi series Star Trek, actor William Shatner, finally got his chance to venture into space for real. At the age of 90, he became the oldest man in space.
According to the British heir to the throne, it is much more important to "fix this planet" than to look for another place to live, as he stated for the BBC Newscast.
If hadn’t become a singer, he would have wanted to be an astronaut. That's why he didn't hesitate a minute when the tickets to space became available. Rumour has it he’d even like to shoot a music video in space.
She got the Virgin Galactic space ticket as a gift for a noble deed she had done. Her husband is the nephew of the company’s owner Richard Branson. Her spot onboard the spaceship was a reward for having rescued Branson's mother in a fire at his resort on Necker Island.
An influencer who wants to stun people with the most gorgeous photos and have the highest number of followers must invest in stuff such as, for instance, a spaceflight ticket. Several years back, Katy Perry bought a ticket together with her then-boyfriend, but the couple has broken up since, so she can go on this unconventional holiday on her own.
It's going to be an awesome space party! The red carpet staple simply couldn’t miss out on the fun and will also board the spaceship.
Elon Musk's SpaceX company has ambitions to become a major competitor of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. And he’s planning more than short trips up and back - SpaceX is going to take their customers on lengthier trips in orbit. Which of these billionaires will be more successful in this space race? We might find out soon!