If you've dreamed of walking on the moon and have $750 million to spare, you can make that dream a reality. The Golden Spike Company is now offering rides to the moon, which it describes as being like taking a train...into outer space. Presently, it has the first trip slated for 2020, but that could certainly change over the next seven or so years.
The company was formed by former NASA workers, including Johnson Space Center Director Gerry Griffin, as well as former NASA Associate Administrator Alan Stern, who offered this statement. "Two seats, 750 for each. The trick is 40 years old. We know how to do this. We realize this is the stuff of science fiction. We intend to make it science fact. We believe in the price points that we're talking about."
Golden Spike is mostly targeting foreign countries as its primary customer, allowing those nations to put astronauts on the moon via the service. It won't allow restricted countries or China partake of the service, however, for legal and political reasons. Thus far, it has one potential "lunar tourist," an affluent individual that it will not name.
The total cost for developing the operation is estimated to fall between $7 and $8 billion, which encompasses testing, development, and more. In order to reduce costs, Golden Spike may partner with other companies, such as SpaceX, using already available rockets and renting spacesuits. The operation isn't without its critics, however. One expert, for example, has been quoted as saying that Golden Spike's co-founder "doesn't have enough zeros in his budget."