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Moon to become next hot vacation destination?

Golden Spike, a company full of ex-NASA people, announces ambitious plans to launch commercial spaceflights to the moon by 2020.

Apollo 17 moon mission
Tourists may follow in astronaut Eugene Cernan's footsteps on the moon from 1972.
NASA/Harrison H. Schmitt

I feel sorry for all those suckers who blew $20 million and only got a lousy trip to the International Space Station. If they had held out, they might have had an opportunity to invest many more millions on a trip to the moon.

Golden Spike Company announced yesterday a venture to launch commercial voyages to the moon by 2020. Of course, this sort of experience doesn't come cheap. Golden Spike is expecting a trip to cost $1.5 billion per flight.

At that price, most private clients would be left out in the cold. As awesome as moon tourism sounds, Golden Spike is mainly focused on offering its services to governments that would like a lunar lift, much like Russia helped other countries get to the space station. Still, I'm guessing Golden Spike would think twice about turning down a multi-billionaire with the dough and desire to buy a ride.

For those of us who don't bathe in tubs full of hundred dollar bills, Golden Spike has announced its intention to make moon visits frequent and affordable. The definition of affordable is up for debate.

If you're going to take a chance on a private moon transportation company, you could do worse than Golden Spike. The chairman of the board is Gerry Griffin, Apollo flight director and former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. The president and CEO is planetary scientist Alan Stern, former head of all NASA science missions. NASA resumes are all over the Golden Spike team listings.

On the front page of its site, Golden Spike says, "Private sector human expeditions to the moon are now feasible and profitable without government funding." That's a bold statement. Let's keep an eye on Golden Spike and see if it can deliver.

Golden Spike rendering
A rendering of a Golden Spike vehicle on the moon. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

(Via Wired)