We don’t know yet what – if any – currency card will be used in space, however we are now living in a time where the dream of space tourism is tantalisingly close to fulfilment. It will happen in many of our lifetimes, although there are a couple of limitations to bear in mind.
One is timescale – the first commercial passenger flights to space are not going to happen overnight, despite the talk of spaceport locations reaching fever pitch. This brave new branch of tourism presents a massive risk to its operators, and those organisations will not put a member of the public in one of their craft until they are absolutely sure that safety is maximised as much as possible. And this could mean a long time of testing and re-testing yet, particularly following the tragic incident which took place in the Mojave Desert in October 2014.
The other limitation to the average traveller is cost. To begin with at least these ultra long haul journeys are going to carry a weighty price tag, and it may take years before anyone who is not a millionaire, a billionaire or of course a crew member gets to see the stars close up.
But travellers with a curiosity about the final frontier should not feel disheartened – here on terra firma there are many destinations where we can marvel at the discovery of space, and a number of these have played a part in fuelling our decades-long fascination with the moon and the stars.
In the aforementioned Mojave Desert sits the town of Mojave, California, and its landmark Mojave Air & Space Port. No public tours of the facility are conducted, but there are monthly “Plane Crazy Saturdays” which give the average Joe an insight into its past, present and future. You can also dine in the Voyager restaurant. It’s at Mojave that a number of companies are working hard to deliver the reality of space tourism, and the arid desert landscape – with something of an Area 51 feel about it – just adds to the unique atmosphere.
A much more frequent feature of tourist itineraries is the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida. This installation proudly welcomes a huge amount of visitors each year to celebrate America’s role in the space race. Visitor attractions include the Shuttle Launch Experience, IMAX Theater, Rocket Garden, U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and the Children’s Play Dome.
With a prepaid US Dollar cash card you can spend at these unique attractions without paying astronomical exchange rates.