Space tourism is going to be synonymous with space hotels. When everyday people decide to pay good money to go into orbit, they will first fly to a space hotel. Essentially a space station with more entertainment than science. A floating structure orbiting Earth approximately 300 miles straight up. Although it is called a hotel, it is really much more like a cruise. But with no ports-of-call, the hotel will provide your entertainment, dining, site-seeing, and overall experience. There are three main reasons why people will want to go into space for vacation:
First is the experience of zero gravity (0g). Being able to float freely in the air is by most accounts an extraordinary sensation. It’s a power you’ve never possessed. Handicapped people will be able to leave the chair at home. The feeling of weightlessness has been compared to “floating in water without the sensation of water on your skin.” And the “realization of a dream.” You feel like Superman. There is no up or down either. You have complete control (or lack thereof) over direction and movement.
Another reason will be for the extraordinary views. Mostly of Earth, but of Luna and the stars as well. Watching the Earth will be how you spend a lot of your time. Great viewing rooms, several stories high, will be created to enhance the experience. Weather patterns change the Earthscape continuously. You will see the flash of lightning almost every minute. You’ll be able to see the energy of human civilization as you pass through to night. Viewing the blue ball we call home is a humbling experience. You finally realize how small you really are. You finally see your place in the universe. Similar rooms will be scattered about to provide for moon and star viewing as well.
The final reason to go to a space hotel will simply be for the adventure and story. The first people who will buy tickets are the people that have dreamed about going into space their entire lives. It is the thrill of a lifetime. Hopefully the welcome outcome of countless hours spent staring up at the sky and wondering.
But what will we really do when we get there? Along with these viewing rooms and other areas to play in 0g, there will be loads of entertainment. You’ll buckle up and watch shows put on by the entertainment staff. You’ll see live music. Drummers will play upside-down. Theatrical productions will inherently utilize the 0g. New forms of dance will be created. Spectacles you never dreamed possible.
Naturally, there will be a large dining room. However the romance is completely gone when you have to eat your food from a straw. Imagine drinking wine with a straw? And there are safety issues as well. Utensils would float freely around the room. It would be a slight problem if you were eating dinner and a steak knife floated past your head. For these reasons there will be rotating sections which create artificial gravity for the dining room and other areas. Along the side of this room will be large windows to offer additional Earth-viewing while you dine. Music will fill the air.
The bedroom won’t be just the place you retire to. This is where you’ll be able to check out 0g more personally. Brothers and sisters will wrestle all night. Portals will provide more stargazing opportunities. Here you’ll find your 0g toilet. Interior designers will have another dimension to use when creating modular bedrooms for space. Beds can be oriented any which way. One on the ceiling, one on the wall. Sex in space will be a hugely enjoyable activity. The floating beast with two backs. Honeymoons will presumably be a major source of business.
In the future, separate orbital stadiums will be flown in synchronous orbit. You’ll take a taxi over to the stadium where a variety of activities will be available. A zero gravity pool, playground, and new “space sports” are just some of these. 0g adaptations of common sports such as tennis and soccer will quickly arise. In a 0g pool, large “bubbles” of water float in the air. You’ll float in and out of one bubble to the next. Artificial gravity pools will be just as intriguing. In this case, the water will line the sides of a cylinder. Creating a donut of water. Those who seek real adventure will sign up for tethered space walks. Of course, there will also be malls and casinos. What would a vacation be like without bringing back souvenirs? I went to space and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.
So start saving now. This is all coming. The Japanese have just announced that they are planning on creating a space elevator to get stuff to orbit cheaply. They’re actually gonna try to do it! Once cheap space flight becomes available, the sky is no longer the limit.
Space Future is a terrific website and was consulted heavily for this post.