An artist's illustration of Space Adventures' concept for a spaceport outside Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Credit: Space Adventures.
In Robert Heinlein's 1958 novel Have Space Suit, Will Travel, a high school senior can't believe his eyes when his father shows him a contest announcement at breakfast:
"Dad looked over his paper at me. 'Clifford, here's something in your line...'
It was a soap ad.
It announced that tired old gimmick, a gigantic super-colossal prize contest. This one promised a thousand prizes down to a last hundred, each of which was a year's supply of Skyway Soap.
Then I spilled cornflakes in my lap. The first prize was -
"- AN ALL-EXPENSE TRIP TO THE MOON!!!"
That's the way it read, with three exclamation points - only to me there were a dozen, with bursting bombs and a heavenly choir."
Well, hold on to your cornflakes. It turns out that Gillette has a similar contest going on right now.
Ordinary space-crazy youngsters (well, anyone 18 or older) can enter Gillette's Hitch a Ride to Outer Space contest and win a sub-orbital space flight.
The first (and only) prize of a sub-orbital flight will be provided by Space Adventures. After a flight to the Space Adventures spaceport at Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE and three days of training, you will receive the following:
In an unprecedented sensory experience, rocket engines boost you beyond the normal limits of flight to regions above 62 miles (100 kilometers) - where space begins. After the engines shutdown, you will experience up to five minutes of continuous weightlessness, all the while gazing at the vast blackness of space and the blue horizon of the Earth below.
Not quite a trip to the moon, but it sounds cool to me. And even better - you can keep your space suit as a memento of your trip.
Heinlein would be so pleased.
There's only one catch - only Canadian citizens can enter. That's right; universal health care and free trips to space. It's just not fair.
Read more about Heinlein's ideas and inventions (110), books and stories (30) and ideas come to life (75). Gaze longingly at the Gillette Hitch A Ride to Outer Space registration site; thanks to Edward Willett for the tip on this story.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)