November 4, 2014

I AGREE: Space Tourism Will Survive Virgin Galactic Crash.

Climbing Mt. Everest is fantastically dangerous, and people continue to do it, often paying tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of risking their lives. True, heading into space via an explosive exothermic reaction seems to be even more dangerous than climbing Everest — perhaps twice as dangerous, for the relevant age group. On the other hand, you don’t have to spend months or years training to get on a Virgin Galactic tour, and when you finally reach your “summit,” you will be comfortably strapped into a seat to enjoy the view, rather than a frost-bitten, hypoxia-addled mess. Your end, if it comes, will be in a few seconds or minutes rather than long hours of freezing cold. When you consider all the costs, which journey seems more expensive?

The question for me is not “will people be willing to take the risk,” but “Will Virgin Galactic have enough paying customers to cover the cost?” Not that many people have so much money that $250,000 dollars sounds affordable. Risk-taking propensity is strongest among young men — and unfortunately, wealth is highest among the old.

I dunno, I think most Everest-climbers are middle-aged.

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