In a shocking move, NASA has announced that they will soon be allowing tourists to visit the International Space Station as soon as next year. The space vacation will come at a cost of roughly $35,000, so it will be an adventure reserved for people who are wealthy enough to handle that kind of expense.
The flights will also be limited to just two each year, according to Robyn Gatens, the deputy director of the ISS.
The voyages will be led by private astronauts who will be able to visit the ISS for up to 30 days at a time, according to BBC.
Chief financial officer Jeff DeWit says that this is an unprecedented idea.
“Nasa is opening the International Space Station to commercial opportunities and marketing these opportunities as we’ve never done before,” DeWit said.
Private flights to the space station were previously banned by NASA, but the agency is transitioning to privatize the ISS in the next 6 years.
On the other hand, Russia has been open to private and commercial flights to the ISS for many years. In 2001, US businessman Dennis Tito bypassed the NASA ban on travel to the space station by paying the Russian government $20 million to take him there.
Last year, US President Donald Trump published a budget that will defund the space station by 2025, so NASA is working to replace the funding through commercial partnerships.
This announcement from NASA may come as a shock to members of the flat earth community, who believe that the International Space Station, and even space itself, does not exist.
There are plenty of wealthy flat earthers out there who have already spent far more than $35,000 in their quest to prove that we are trapped in a dome, instead of a ball floating through space. This is a chance for them to finally go into space and see the proof with their own eyes.
There have been a number of crowdfunding efforts for independent explorations to the reaches of space or “the edge of the Earth.” Flat earthers are even planning a cruise to Antarctica, which they believe is actually an ice wall that keeps us from reaching the actual edge of the earth. Much of the skepticism about Antarctica comes from the fact that much of it is off-limits to the public, just like the International Space Station.
This type of secrecy leads people to speculate about what is really going on. Sometimes this speculation is reasonable, and sometimes it is absurd. Hopefully, the flat earth debate will finally be settled once people are able to go up and see it on their own.
IMAGE CREDIT1: Elena Schweitzer
IMAGE CREDIT2: Wikimedia