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|Published:||21 November 2003|
|Origin:||Invited speech, International Lunar Conference, Waikoloa, Hawaii, 21 November 2003|
|Abstract:||Travel to and from the lunar surface has been known to be feasible since it was first achieved 34 years ago. Since that time there has been enormous progress in related engineering fields, so there are no fundamental technical problems facing the development of lunar tourism -- only investment and business problems. The outstanding near-term problem is to reduce the cost of launch to low Earth orbit, which has been famously described as "halfway to anywhere".
Recently there has been major progress towards overturning the myth that launch costs are high because of inescapable physical limits, as companies are planning sub-orbital flights at 0.1% of the cost of Alan Shepard's similar flight in 1961. Market research shows strong demand for both sub-orbital flights and orbital services. Travel to the Moon will offer further unique attractions: in addition to its allure arising from millennia of mythology in every country, bird-like flying sports will surely become a powerful demand factor.
The paper also explains that, far from being an activity of minor economic importance, the progressive growth of tourism services from sub-orbital flights through lunar tourism, will contribute greatly to economic growth on Earth and create new employment on a large scale, in the same way as the development of tourism in Hawaii has enriched the US mainland and elsewhere.
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