Team of ex-NASA engineers to offer moon travel

Would-be space travellers that have the interest, the enthusiasm and the money, will be able to visit the moon if plans that are being formulated by a group of former NASA engineers come to fruition.

The former engineers, who between them have experience of space travel and past NASA visits to the moon, have formed The Golden Spike Company. Now they are planning to offer the opportunity to normal people who have the large sums of money to pay for their dreams. The company is promoting itself as the first private venture to plan routine exploration expeditions to the lunar surface. Former NASA science chief, Alan Stern, and Gerry Griffin, a former Apollo flight director and former director of the NASA Johnson Space Centre, have conceived the idea.

If their plans are implemented, pleasure trips to the moon could become a reality by the end of this decade. The only aspect that could deter space tourists is the high cost involved, because the estimated cost for a two-person lunar surface mission starts at $1.4bn.

Sceptics might draw some comfort from what Gerry Griffin has to say about the idea. Griffin, who also served as deputy director of the Kennedy Space Centre, said that technical know-how to explore space has grown over the years. In fact technology has become so ubiquitous that many private-sector start-ups are exploring the possibility of sending tourists to the moon. He added, ‘We’re in the midst of a historic era in commercial space flight.’

The company said that it was planning to use existing rockets and employ emerging commercial-crew technology to keep costs relatively affordable.

The company’s board of directors includes a broad range of individuals, including a ‘Star Trek’ set designer.

Children’s top holiday destination… the Moon

The skies not the limit if you let your kids pick their summer holiday, destination of choice is the Moon.

When asked where they would like to take a trip to, the Moon was named by the majority of children as their ideal holiday. Closely followed by Disney Land and Narnia, the fictional world from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

The results come from a survey of British children aged three to eight by holiday website sunshine.co.uk.

The survey revealed both real and make-believe places in the top ten, following Narnia was Hogsmeade, from Harry Potter, and Hogwarts – Harry Potters school was seventh. Harry Potters imaginary world may be closer than some parents might think – with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, now open in Florida.

Lapland took second place, with children desperate to meet Santa and his reindeer, and Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood to visit Winne, Piglet and Eeyore.

Another destination parents might struggle with was Pride Rock, the fictional kingdom Mustafa and Simba ruled in The Lion King.

The ninth holiday hotspot was Australia – possibly due to the fact it has featured in so many children’s films, including Finding Nemo.

The final destination of choice was Bikini Bottom, the underwater world of fictional character Spongebob Squarepants.

Sunshine.co.uk co-founder Chris Brown said: ‘Having four kids of my own, I know that mine would pick Disney over any destination, but it’s incredibly cute to see that so many selected fictional destinations and the Moon.’

The top 10 places for holidays were:

1.   The Moon
2.   Disney World
3.   Narnia
4.   Hogsmeade
5.   Lapland
6.   Hundred Acre Wood
7.   Hogwarts
8.   Pride Rock
9.   Australia
10. Bikini Bottom