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SPACE: Curiosity on Mars might open new tourism frontier

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EDITOR’S BLOG. As Nasa’s space vehicle Curiosity lands on Mars, the agency’s first serious mission to the planet since the Viking probes in the 1970’s, one has to wonder if this is the first step to enable tourism to other worlds. Indeed, space travel is about take off in the coming years, with billionaire and flight entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in the final preparations, among other ventures, to offer journeys into space. But these attempts to launch a new branch of tourism are just a bare scratch on the surface, as the space crafts will barely enter the outer premises of the atmosphere.

The Nasa mission with its vehicle Curiosity is something else. Imagine putting a human being on there, who could write back to report about his or her experiences from a completely new world.

But hold on. We are years from tourism on other planets. Putting a man om Mars is one thing, bringing him back is quite another. It is possible that this will be accomplished within a lifetime, but from that to offer regular space travels to other planets or moons – our own Moon is the most obvious one to start with – will take yet another few decades due to the high costs.

In the meantime we have the pictures that Curiosity and other probes send back to take in. And it is also a good idea to use the time available to ponder about the pure point of traveling.

Not so long ago, a journey from, say, Europe to South america or Africa was a true adventure. Not so anymore, as the cost of flying is decreasing by the hour. Today’s travels are about something else, a broader scope, to learn about cultures that might be closer to ourselves that we might think.

A few years back, as an example, I went to Bangladesh. The country is among the world’s poorest, and while its economic growth rate is high, it will take decades for Bangladesh to advance to the same standard as that of Europe or the U.S. I think I learned more during those ten days in Bangladesh than I’d done from almost all my travels before that. This is my point – there are still cultures, peoples and events to discover on Earth that, as we venture to other countries and continents, will help increase the global, collective knowledge about the place where we live.

And it is necessary to keep this going. The debt crisis in Europe has highlighted differences within Europe that we are not yet able to understand. Why is it that Greece, which uses the Euro, has failed so miserably to handle its finances when many other nations within the European Union have managed to develop its economies and keep its finances in order? It can be argued that Greece is one of the world’s most interesting places to go to right now.

The purpose of the Traveling Reporter is to help improving this global knowledge about our neighbors and other peoples. While we do occasionally publish a top-5-list, we do also try to cover the broader perspective on the purpose of traveling.

To be sure, when the day comes that opens up for tourism on Mars, we’ll be reporting on that too. But in the meantime, there are loads of stories to cover right where we stand.

Please feel free to post a suggestion below what we should report about, or submit your own travel story!



The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.