Well that’s interesting. With his journey scheduled for September 30th, the seventh space tourist is going to be Guy Laliberte, acrobatic billionaire and founder of the famous Cirque du Soleil. Booked to hitch a lift with the Russian Federation to spend 12 days aboard the ISS, Laliberte booked his trip via the US company Space Adventures. So they say, one of those tickets costs in the region of $30 million!
Seemingly, it isn’t just fun and games either. As well as fulfilling a childhood dream, Laliberte has a humanitarian mission behind his excursion — to raise awareness of worldwide water issues. To get his message heard and help people across the planet get better access to clean water, Laliberta plans to read “a poem to planet Earth and its inhabitants in regard to the situation with water,” written by himself and a friend. I have to say, I rather like that idea, given that water is certainly at a premium aboard the ISS, and yet it affords the best view you could have of Earth’s oceans. As the quote goes, ‘water, water, everywhere…’
I have to wonder though… seeing as Laliberte is a retired acrobat, what might he make of microgravity? I’d imagine a lot of fun could be had! Interestingly, Laliberte’s trip ties in quite well with some of the planned Japanese work as part of JAXA-EPO (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – Education Payload Observation), intended to captivate the public’s interest with artistic activities in microgravity. I haven’t heard much about it, but I know that EPO was planning to explore the poetic and artistic sides of human spaceflight, even recording traditional Japanese dances in weightlessness. I remember reading about how the Japanese Kibo module featured some kind of dance studio facility, but not much news has surfaced about it since.
Perhaps people are coming to realise that space travel isn’t purely the domain of scientists. It would be wonderful to see more artists get involved!