The world’s latest space tourist, Charles Simonyi, a Microsoft Word developer, has just connected with the international space station. This got me thinking: If I had that kind of money what would I do? Well first off I won’t even get onto a commercial airliner due to an acute fear of flying so space travel is definitely out for me. Despite that I’m just not that sure that viewing the earth from above within the vastness of nothing else is really that big a buzz but then again I am very different to a lot of folk.
I’m not sure how much the trip has cost Charles but going on past incidents (term used appropriately I think as space travel for tourists must surely be an accident) I would imagine that the figure was somewhere around US $20 million. There are a lot of things that 20 million could do and help you be remembered for more than a space tourist. There are so many charities, so much poverty, so much community outreach that could benefit from that money. Now I’m not one of these deluded folk who thinks that all rich people should give away all their money to charity, I too have possessions that I spent money on instead of giving to charity. There’s just something about space travel that seems a little futile to me. You spend 20 million dollars and when you get back all that you can say was that you saw the earth from above and nothing else that one cannot see from the ground. You might even experience violent discomfort from g-forces and possibly feel quite ill. It’s a bit like climbing to the top of a famous monument, you’ll see something a little differently but nobody will remember you for it and ultimately its just another image in your memory that you’ll probably confuse with a postcard or perhaps a photo in National Geographic. I just don’t get it. So what would I do with a spare 20 million, well its obvious, no? I’d buy my Ferrari F355, tour Ireland, possibly take it on the boat to the UK, tunnel to Europe and take back more memories and images than any space tourist could ever achieve and when I got home I’d still have enough money to do more good than most people would ever contemplate – not entirely selfless but I’d be a millionaire with the millionaire lifestyle and people might actually like me for the good I tried to do. source: Slashdot