April 1 2010 by Mike Mason
Future predictors of space travel have the hotel industry gearing up for a future of space tourism.
"And where there is tourism, there is going to be hotels", says Jackson Porterlie, head of the Space and Moon Hotel Exploration Association (SMHEA).
The association represents a number of forward thinking industry experts, mapping out what could be coming faster than most people think -- hotels on the moon. With the news of NASA planning fresh moon missions and with China, India and Russia each upping their entries into the space race, the next 10 years will see real developments for many hotels in their race for the next prime lunar hotel locations.
"We have a space station, and we have some tourism already starting to happen there, so it seems logical that the moon is the next step. But governments aren't going to be able to fund all of this work, the private sector is going to have to play a huge role and that is where the hotel industry comes in," says Sylvia Borden, a long time hotel consultant and industry analyst, "we are going to have to do our part to turn moon rock into gold."
Currently, real estate on the moon is relatively cheap, allowing many hoteliers to dream big about all types of luxury to mid-scale hotel options. It is too early to tell what may be the next California or Manhattan location on the moon. As the moon is basically just rock, there may not be the normal indicators of what makes a prime location.
Ms. Borden also signals the types of activities that tourists could engage in at moon hotels.
"Our biggest concern is what we are going to have people do once they get up there. I think the novelty of the moon probably wears off in about 24 hours. After you've gazed back at the earth for an hour, you are ready for something else. It is kind of like the Grand Canyon effect. So that raises all sorts of issues, like swimming pools, we don't even know what that is going to be like in lesser gravity. We think casinos are a natural fit. But, we are going to have to come up with a whole host of entertainment options for people, once they get bored. Plus, there's a lot more darkness on the moon. We think a Cirque de Soliel would work well there."
Stephen Sutter, an engineering consultant, working on the early hotel prototypes shared his insights into what is possible.
"The lighter atmosphere is a big draw, but the fact that there is no air up there, really limits some of the things we could do. Could you imagine teeing off up there? Once we figure out the oxygen issue, it really opens up the possibilities."
The status of current real estate holdings on the moon is a grey area. In some circles, the United States has rights to the whole of it, having planted its flag there first, but there is limited real estate law precedent for this type of "first flag, first serve" ownership.
During a two day convention of the top industry experts for moon hotels some powerful ideas started to emerge that are sure to shape the future of lunar destinations. Paramor Fujabi, one of the attendees, shared his opinion of the possible selling points of a moon vacation.
"People talk about taking a vacation to get away from it all. Now we can literally deliver that. I don't think most cell phones get reception on the moon. I am sure mine doesn't, mine doesn't even get bars in Starbucks. But this is a huge selling point. Letting people take a spa vacation where almost, literally, no one is around. It may be the only place left where your boss couldn't get a hold of you on your Blackberry."
For those looking for the next exotic vacation, be sure to pack your extra oxygen tank and moon boots, your next trip may just be out of this world.
Many of these issues are sure to be top of mind at the upcoming Space and Moon Hotel Exploration Association Summit being held on April 1st (April Fool's Day), 2010.
Should we put hotels on the moon? Comment and let us know your thoughts.