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On the Newsstand: Virgin Voyage . . . in Space

Virgin Galactic may be close to making space tourism a reality, according to the latest issue of The Economist. The firm just unveiled its plan to give customers with a couple hundred grand a trip to outer space. And there may be more exciting things to come. The article claims that a system similar to Virgin's could be used to launch space planes from one side of the earth to the other in 90 minutes! All for the right price, of course.

The magazine believes that access to space, and thus the other side of earth, will revolutionize our attitudes toward space travel.

For many years the question has been why taxpayers should pay to put people into space. The point of private-sector space travel is that the world will rapidly and accurately come to a conclusion about what space is for. The invisible hand may, indeed, point upwards. Then again, it may not.

If it does point upwards, all I can say is — wow! I don't know whether I like this or not. It seems like the internet and free trade have already made for a very homogeneous world. This obviously has both pros and cons. I love that I can shop at the Spanish store Zara at home in the US, but I'm always disappointed when I see the same stuff when I travel overseas. What will the world look like if we can travel from one end to the next in less time than it takes to watch the sappy in-flight romantic comedy?!


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