Friday, January 13, 2012

Best Places for Space Vacations in MMXII


Yesterday, I described the worst places to vacation (unless you're a Mars analog), and today is for the best places to vacation. Talk about a major increase in worldwide Geekfests!

Curve of the Earth
Among the "attractions" at the Incredible Adventures agency are the zero-gravity parabolic flights, always very popular… also, the unique "Cosmonaut For A Day" package. New to the list is the "Edge of Space" adventure:

Day 1: Arrive in Russia.
Day 2: Tour Moscow, then take a train to Nizhniy Novgorod. Shop. See Red Square.
Day 3: Briefing and spacesuit-fitting at the airstrip. Travel to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere in a MiG-31 FoxHound Fighter Jet to see the black void and observe planetary curve. Vomit breakfast. Replace with Lunch.
Day 4: Back to Moscow, see a museum.

Space Adventure
Note that the trip "must be booked 45 days prior to arrange security clearance. Subject to physical examination. If aged 40 or older you must also provide a copy of a recent EKG before being permitted to fly."

Then, I imagine, you still sign a piece of paper that says, in the appropriate 4-point-font Russian legalese, We aren’t responsible for expiring you, just write down a contact person's phone number so we know where to ship the gleefully grinning corpse.

All for the bargain price of thirty thousand dollars.

However, for those of us who don’t SNEEZE MONEY in response to pollen season, there are other space-themed vacations that are easier on the wallet: Space Camp, the Alpine Astro Village, and my personal Bucket List topper, Bright Horizons and Eclipse watching trips by Insight Cruises.

Bright Horizons
The Holland America liners visits stunning ports of call all over the world, sponsored by Scientific American and/or SKY & Telescope, with a bent to giving geeks all the science, computers, and astronomy they can handle!

Last season, the Bright Horizons series covered evolution and astronauts, and even "The Physics of Star Trek", along with optional day trips to the Arecibo radio telescope.

This year, they have increased the numbers of lectures and seminars aboard-ship, acquired some Big Name Scientists as guests, literally trippled their science-themed outings, and even have a shore excursion to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN!

Insight Cruises

Want to watch the transit of Venus from Hawaii? An eclipse from Australia? March with some penguins? Perfect! I’ve been on a handful of cruises, but tend to get bored on the ship because I don’t enjoy poolside lounging or buffet-hopping. Bingo and napkin-folding? Yeah, not so much. But I would be all rapt attention at any of
their listed cosmology lectures.

Who else is on board??