Everyone at least a little bit interested in space and astronomy dreams about going into space. There were 7 space “tourists” that paid money to go to the Internation Space Station. If given the opportunity to go for a little vacation in Earth’s orbit, would you take up that chance? How would you spend that time?
Andrew Rader (SpaceX engineer, MIT PhD, author)
Of course! (And hopefully beyond orbit too.) Most people get space sick for the first few days in space from the changes in the way 0G accelerations are perceived in your inner ear, but hopefully that wouldn’t distract too much from the incredible views of our home planet and the sheer joy of floating free in microgravity. With views and fun combined, it space should prove to be one of the finest travel destinations imaginable. However, I think the main reason to go to space is to learn how to live there longer term. I’d want to be productive in actually building and testing hardware, conducting experiments, and paving the way for the long term settlement of space.
Ciro Villa (technologist, application developer, STEM communicator)
If given the opportunity, I would absolutely take the once in a lifetime chance to go up in space on the ISS. Many people do not realize and appreciate the fact that all the hard work astronauts do up there in orbit day in and day out benefits us all down here on Earth. Many of the technological and scientific advancements that have improved our quality of life right here on Earth have been spear headed by the research and experiments performed in the unique, natural zero gravity laboratory that the Earth’s orbiting space station provides, which has yielded so many invaluable findings and discoveries regarding how things behave in the absence of gravity. So, how would I spend my time up there? Well, I suppose that would depend on what I would be allowed to do. If under the constraint and watchful eye of my sponsoring government agency, then I would probably not have much of a choice but do the daily work and conduct the scheduled experiments which would be a great experience and opportunity all by itself. But if I had “free reign”, then I would probably exploit technology to the max, of course! Explore, investigate, and learn all that I could and then share with the public. Have video conferencing, live updates, in short let the world see what I see and share my experiences in real time. Plus hopefully enjoy some space pizza… http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1345139.stm
Paul Carr (Space Systems engineer at NASA, podcaster, blogger, investigator)
Given that I could afford it, you bet I would. I imagine I would spend much of the time staring out of the observation window at the Earth, camera ready. The rest of the time I would spend learning the details of astronaut life and tumbling around in microgravity. I would volunteer to help out with any of the regular work as well, and perhaps they would humor me a bit. No Bowie covers, though, which is best for all concerned.