The first luxury space hotel will open to civilian astronauts in 2021
Those recent tax breaks for the extremely wealthy might just have a new place to be spent.
A company called Orion Span is launching the Aurora Station in 2021, which will be a low-Earth orbit space station offering those who can afford the cool $9.5 million tab the opportunity to spend 12 days orbiting the planet. That’s $792,000 per night, making it the most expensive hotel in the world.
The anticipated demand is such that, just to reserve a space onboard, Orion Span is asking for an $80,000 deposit.
Looking like an odd combination of wealthy tourist appeal and science lab, the website’s a copy reads:
"Every 90 minutes we complete an orbit, meaning you'll see day & night over Earth hundreds of times during your 12-day stay, with ample opportunity to photograph your hometown from space. With Aurora Station's fastest wireless internet access in space, you'll be equipped to share your experience with friends & family on Earth instantly."
200 miles high
The station will be 200 miles up in low-Earth orbit—you know, where a lot of space debris lives—and the company will require training and testing to come aboard. It’s reduced the amount of training required to become a modern-day Major Tom from 24 months to 3 months.
But it’s not jumping in the station wagon and heading to a favorite vacation spot; the training even requires a several-week stay in Houston, with exercises on spacecraft systems and contingency training to actually see if you have the right stuff.
Company founder Frank Bunger put it simply:
“We’re not selling a hey-let’s-go-to-the-beach equivalent in space. We’re selling the experience of being an astronaut. You reckon that there are people who are willing to pay to have that experience.”
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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