Tourism on the Moon
Tourism on the Moon, also known as lunar tourism, refers to space tourism on or around the Moon, the natural satellite of planet Earth. Some space tourism startup companies are planning to offer tourism on the Moon in the near future. Some individual companies estimate or claim that lunar tourism will be a reality sometime between 2020 and 2043.
Space tourism companies which have announced they are pursuing lunar tourism include:
- Circumlunar: In this type of lunar tourism, the spaceship doesn't land on the Moon's surface; rather, it loops around the Moon on a circumlunar trajectory and returns to Earth. The company Space Adventures has announced plans to take two tourists within 100 kilometers (54 nautical miles) of the lunar surface, using a Soyuz spacecraft piloted by a professional cosmonaut.
- Lunar Landing: In this type of tourism, tourists will land on the surface of the Moon.
Some of the space tourism start-up companies have declared their cost for each tourist for a tour to the Moon.
- Circumlunar tourism: Excalibur Almaz and Space Adventures are charging $150 million per seat, a price that includes months of ground-based training, although this is only a fly-by mission, and will not land on the Moon.
- Lunar landing: The Golden Spike Company is charging $750 million per seat for future lunar landing tourism.
Two natural attractions would be available by circumlunar flight or lunar orbit, without landing:
- View of the far side of the Moon
- View of the Earth rising and setting against the lunar horizon
Protection of lunar landmarks
The site of the first human landing on an extraterrestrial body, Tranquility Base, has been determined to have cultural and historic significance by the U.S. states of California and New Mexico, which have listed it on their heritage registers, since their laws require only that listed sites have some association with the state. Despite the location of Mission Control in Houston, Texas has not granted similar status to the site, as its historic preservation laws limit such designations to properties located within the state. The U.S. National Park Service has declined to grant it National Historic Landmark status, because the Outer Space Treaty prohibits any nation from claiming sovereignty over any extraterrestrial body. It has not been proposed as a World Heritage Site since the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which oversees that program, limits nations to submitting sites within their own borders.
Interest in according historical lunar landing sites some formal protection grew in the early 21st century with the announcement of the Google Lunar X Prize for private corporations to successfully build spacecraft and reach the Moon; a $1 million bonus was offered for any competitor that visited a historic site on the Moon. One team, led by Astrobotic Technology, announced it would attempt to land a craft at Tranquility Base. Although it canceled those plans, the ensuing controversy led NASA to request that any other missions to the Moon, private or governmental, human or robotic, keep a distance of at least 75 meters (246 ft) from the site.
Earthrise over the lunar horizon, as seen from orbit on Apollo 10
Buzz Aldrin's boot print on the lunar surface
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Moon.|