NASA is pretty much always doing something cool or noteworthy and this week they certainly did not disappoint. They announced one of the winners of their university mission competition this week and the top project was an MIT-designed inflatable space hotel. Just take a moment and let that sink in. A hotel. In space. The MARINA would feature eight rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a gym and one heck of a view.
The hotel would be able to house up to 16 guests at a time (no sneaking an extra person into this hotel) who would be able to go on a space walk during their time there and experience a zero-gravity gym. You also might meet some actual astronauts during your time in orbit. The purpose of the proposed hotel is to also replace the International Space Station for NASA’s missions to Mars. NASA would partner with a commercial investor to create the MARINA which would lower the space agency’s costs by 16 percent ($3 billion).
If NASA started work on the MARINA this year, it could be complete and ready for guests by 2020. That’s certainly sooner than we assumed people were going to start vacationing in space. Although, apparently Stanley Kubrick thought that would be happening 16 years ago.
So what does one round-trip space ticket and accommodation cost? A mere $5 million per person for two weeks. Not too bad actually, if you’re a billionaire with a Star Trek obsession. We wonder if it’s all-inclusive.
Find that a little out of your price range? Well, NASA had a pretty cool announcement for us commoners this week too: a Google Maps street view of the International Space Station. You can explore the whole thing through your computer. Not quite as cool as being an astronaut or vacationing in space, but it’s a lot more than we could see by just gazing at the sky. Pardon us while we spend the next three hours clicking around this thing.
— NASA (@NASA) July 20, 2017