Rich Americans are willing to take conspicuous consumption to new heights by spending big bucks to fly into space, including paying 0,000 for a 15-minute trip into the heavens, according to a poll released on Monday.
Possibly bored by the banal baubles of mundane Mother Earth or inspired by the dashing derring-do of such pioneers as first American in space Alan Shepard and first millionaire in space Dennis Tito, the poll says 7 percent of rich Americans would pay million for a two-week orbital flight and 19 percent would pay 0,000 for 15-minute sub-orbital flight.
The poll by Zogby International was commissioned by Futron Corp., a Maryland aerospace consulting group which has a .8 million contract with NASA to explore the commercial applications of space travel, including what space tourism could look like in the next 20 years.
Zogby International conducted telephone interviews with 450 Americans whose yearly incomes exceed 0,000 or whose net worth exceeds million. The polls, conducted in January but only released Monday, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.
Futron's NASA project program manager Derek Webber said, "We commissioned this survey in order to get an idea of what rich people think and not the man in the street who loves the idea of going into space but can't afford it."
He added, "We are saying these trips will cost a minimum of 0,000 for a 15-minute trip, which was the amount of time the first American in space, Alan Shepard, had and for that you get to feel space weightlessness and see the world from up there." that trip would take a tourist 50 miles (80 km) into space.
Webber said a surprising 7 percent of the wealthy polled said they would be willing to take a two-week flight to an orbiting space station, paying the million that the Russians charged the two pioneering space tourists who have already made the trip, South African Mark Shuttleworth and American Dennis Tito.
If the price dropped to million, 16 percent of those surveyed would be interested.
Space tourists would have to meet medical standards and only be able to go to the International Space Station.
'N Sync singer Lance Bass is currently undergoing tests to see if he could become the third space tourist. He wants to become the first entertainer in space.