There are many out there who have always dreamed of seeing the universe from a vantage point outside of this little blue planet. Not everyone gets to be astronauts, however, so getting to space isn't that simple. Even with the growth of commercial spaceflight, dreams of getting into space require significant financial leverage. There are ways, however, to get into space without becoming an astronaut – but you may have to compromise on some of your criteria. Here are 5 ways you could get yourself into space that you could actually achieve.
[Image Source: Pixabay]
Become a shooting star
This option is a little less traditional and may not please your living self as much as you'd like. For just $2,490, you can have your ashes sent into space. Many companies run this service, but the most notable is called Elysium Space. If you have always dreamed of being in space but just can't seem to make it happen while you're on earth, you can skip the funeral and launch yourself into the great abyss. Elysium advertises the adventure as follows:
"Imagine an everlasting memorial where family and friends can commemorate their departed loved ones anytime and anywhere. Instead of looking down upon the Earth in reminiscence, we can raise our eyes to the eternal wonders within the night sky, knowing that our loved ones are always with us. The Shooting Star Memorial is a service that delivers a symbolic portion of your loved one's remains to Earth's orbit, only to end this celestial journey as a shooting star. This poetic tribute offers you the opportunity to have a permanent memorial that is with you each and every night, the starry sky above."
Perhaps one of the coolest allures to this way to get into space is you can watch your loved one, or your loved ones can watch you, orbit the earth for several months through a convenient mobile app. Even space burial has a mobile app now. This video below will give you a little overview of the process.
Take a one-way trip to Mars
This one is a little bit of a suicide mission, but at least you can know that you made it into space once in your life. Mars One is a company seeking to establish a permanent colony on Mars and they are currently open for applications. While the company has a decent amount of research backing their idea, it would seem that they have a lot more fundraising to go before they can make the journey that they estimate to cost $6 billion.
Even with the high improbability of the mission actually happening, applying to become a Mars settler is still a greater chance for many in getting to space. There are many requirements to be accepted for the program, which you can read here.
Send your photo to the Moon
[Image Source: Astrobotic]
Astrobotic is a company that is currently contracting space flights out of orbit and even landing on the moon. While it costs $1.2 million per kilogram to send a package to the lunar surface through the traditional route, the company has teamed up with DHL to deliver a package of your choosing to the moon. Called DHL Moonbox, you can send a memento, a photo, something small to the surface of the moon when Astrobotic's mission launches. This method, of course, means that you personally won't be getting to space, but you may just have to settle for having your photo on the moon.
Depending on the size of the package you would like to send, the cost ranges from $460 to $25,800. The smallest size gets you .5 inches by .125 inches and the largest size gets you 1 inch by 2 inches of space. All of these options seem like great bargains.
Sell your house and take a 2.5 hour trip
This option is one of the more reputable and actual ways to get into space while you're alive. For the low up-front cost of 250,000 USD, you can book a flight on Virgin Galactic's commercial spaceflight. The entire trip will last only 2 and a half hours which will include some zero gravity time as well. There's no exact date on when the mission will take place yet as Virgin has encountered a few setbacks in the process. However, it would seem that the mission will definitely happen in the coming future.
[Image Source: Virgin Galactic]
There is one downside to this path to space for those who don't have a ton of money. The $250K cost is required up front, so if you are going to sell your house for this opportunity, you'll be homeless until the mission actually takes off. Then you'll have a place to stay for a little under 3 hours and then you'll be back to being homeless again. You can decide if this decision makes sense for you.
Pretend by taking a Zero-G flight
If none of those options sound good or achievable to you, then you may have to just play pretend. The Zero Gravity Corporation consistently takes passengers up on a modified jetliner to allow you to feel weightless and essentially like you are in space. These trips are still rather expensive, but mostly everyone could afford them through some means. A base cost for these flights will cost you just under 5 grand with deluxe experiences reaching upwards of $10K. You can even go on a Zero-G flight with William Shatner this August for $9,950 if you really want to live the high life.
This opportunity may not be true space flight, but for many, this is the only "budget" option for actually feeling the effects of space.