So Virgin's new space craft Unity has been unveiled, its Sir Richard Branson's new version of his Virgin Galactic Spaceship. It will be used to carry six passengers and is designed to travel more than 60 miles (100km) above Earth. Yes I know that effectively this is just going to mean that 6 people get to go very limitedly into space, 6 people who are not NASA astronauts, and most likely they will just be extremely rich people paying for the bragging rights but this is a start.
This seems to be how things go though, first there will be a form of technology and it will be only for the military, then some private business well get hold of it and will market it at a premium price which only the richest of people can afford, but then eventually when all the cream has been scrapped off which can be got at this price point the price will become lower to attract new customers as new ways will be found of lowering costs. Maybe one of the Unity's successors will have 200 seats instead of 6 but have a more efficient propulsion system which will see the cost of its launch stay the same enabling the price of tickets to be vastly dropped to a more affordable level.
I dont think 6 rich people getting to go to space is particularly exciting for most of us, but you have to stop and look at the bigger picture, this might be a news story in and of itself which is not that interesting to you personally but what cant be denied is that it is a step towards lots of other things which potentially could be very exciting. Are we about to go in to the world of Star Trek and map out the cosmos? No. Are we all about to go live on the Moon in Moon base one? No. Stop and think about it though, think about the things we could do if technology keeps expanding like this. Sure the money spent on this kind of stuff could probably feed half of the starving masses but then again it could also be paying for more nukes so on balance its not like its being used too badly. Call me crazy but I am already thinking about rising water levels and how they have said certain planets couldn't sustain life because there is no water, we are likely to be flooded in the future and cant go to other places because there is no water to sustain life. What if instead of transporting people we transported water? Litterally take it out of the ocean, remove the salt from it and take it in to space, take it to a body in space which is dry and drop it in the nearest hole or trench, create your own lake or river. This might sound like a complete and utter fantasy and maybe it is but lets take a step back a moment and remember that a lot of things we take for granted now once seemed like crazy science fiction based fantasy.