Streets full of people / All alone / Roads full of houses / Never home / Church full of singing / Out of tune / Everyone’s gone to the moon – as written and sung by Jonathan King in 1965.

There was intense interest in man’s first visit to the moon when Mr. King, a native of London, created that hit record. (I vaguely remember a couple of Americans getting to the moon first.) Now nations and companies are plotting new excursions, all of which seem unlikely to happen for a while.

Space tourism is a different story. In the latest development, Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance have announced plans to send up a space habitat by 2020. The module could be hitched to the International Space Station or stand alone. From the IFLScience website:

“Bigelow’s inflatable modules are becoming somewhat of a hot commodity. … Tests in 2006 and 2007 proved that the technology was workable, which basically involves launching a structure in a ‘folded up’ shape and then expanding it in orbit by pumping it full of air. This greatly reduces the amount of space needed on a rocket launch. … The dream is to eventually launch multiple [modules] and connect them in orbit, creating a private space station that both companies and paying space tourists can visit.”

Other private companies, including Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, are also working on space tourism. Mr. Branson’s company has sold more than 700 tickets, first at $200,000 and now for a cool quarter mil.

The ISS is roughly the size of a football field and at any given time holds six astronauts. Wonder if they’d cotton to gawking neighbors? Then there’s the claustrophobia. The nearby cafe might have great food, but there’s zilch atmosphere.

Listen to “Everybody’s Gone to the Moon” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42C323V_vkY

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