This week in stuff none of us can afford: the private company Excalibur Almaz has started selling tickets for a journey to the moon. To do it, the company has purchased several old, used Russian spacecrafts. What could go wrong?
Excalibur Almaz is a company started by Art Dula, a patent and space lawyer from Houston, but it's based in the Isle of Man, because that's the first place you think of when someone says "space exploration". The company has purchased four reusable (and previously used) Soyuz capsules for re-entry, and two Salyut-class 26-tonne space stations that will orbit the moon. The Soyuz will shuttle the traveller there, then dock with one of the orbiting stations so that he or she could stretch out a bit and look at the moon.
The first flights are planned for 2015, and the journey is estimated to take six months. I can think of no better way to spend an insane amount of money and be instantly exploded by a malfunctioning rocket. [Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal]