Always wanted to go to space, but put off by Richard Branson's beard (or the hundreds of thousands of dollars he also wants)? A US not-for-profit might be able to get you there on the cheap -- but better get crossing those fingers.
Spaceship Earth Grants's business model is very simple: fork over a bit of cash (between $US15 and $US90, dependinvg on your country), and you get a 1 in 50,000 chance of winning a ticket to space on something like Virgin Galactic. Applicants aren't chosen at random, though -- you have to complete a mini-CV explaining how going to space would enhance your life, making kiddies happier and puppies cuter, etc. The final choice is made by an illustrious panel of space-people, including former NASA astronauts.
Although on the face of it, this seems like a pretty good deal -- 90 bucks to go to space! -- the cost/reward ratio isn't great: if everyone pays an average of $US50 to enter, that means that Spaceship Earth Grants are getting $US2.5 million for every 50,000 applicants, while they only have to provide one ticket to space for that. Given that a Virgin Galactic ticket will currently run you $US250,000, that's not such a great deal.
So, if you've got the mother of all sob stories -- or you want to send other people to space! -- apply away. The rest of us are probably better off waiting for those space elevators to become reality. [Gizmag]
Picture: Rocket launch/ Shutterstock