Ed: Dec/Jan 2011-12

The Jetsons and their futuristic escapades were a childhood favourite of mine and, I guess, many of our readers as well. I read the comics and watched the show avidly. It all seemed so futuristic.

However, it was recently reported that the German company, Allianz, has begun selling space travel insurance ahead of next year’s first commercial space trips onboard Virgin Galactic.

From what I’m hearing, around 500 people have already reserved seats for Branson’s trips which will provide travellers with a five minute jaunt into sub-orbital space for somewhere around the quarter million dollar mark (US$).

Former Microsoft executive, Charles Simonyi, completed his second mission with Space Adventures in April 2009, becoming the company’s first repeat customer with a total of 25 hours in space.

Space Adventures also offer Zero Gravity Flights onboard a specially modified Boeing 727. Parabolic arcs are formed to create a weightless environment, enabling passengers to float as if in space. Flights start at around US$5,000 per person, or you can arrange a private charter for around US$160,000.

At these prices, space travel is still many years beyond the reach of the “Average Joe”, but it’s certainly something to look forward to.

What an experience it would be to travel so high that the earth’s curvature was visible. Definitely one for the Bucket List!

Whether it becomes affordable for my generation is another story, but it’s a travel option our children or grandchildren can perhaps look forward to.

In the meantime, I think I’ll settle for a long, hot New Zealand summer, fun-filled days on our beautiful beaches and plenty of evenings lingering on the deck with friends over a glass or two of NZ’s best Sauvignon Blanc.

After all, why venture off into space when there’s so much of this country and this planet left to discover…at ground level.

Safe travels.

“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

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