Focus Point - Space For HireCommentary by Pete du Pont
May 11, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. What do you do when you have money to burn? Buy an NBA team? Create a philanthropic empire? Run for the senate?
Well, I liked Dennis Tito's idea: Go into space.
Tito paid the russians $20 million for a six-day trip to their space station. I was trying to figure out how they charged; what's six days, five nights when there is no day or night?
Aside from being envious, I also like the way Tito thinks. He makes the argument that space programs are very expensive, and they're mostly government-funded. Open it up to tourists, he says, and a free market approach could enliven the space program. Competition for travelers could make space programs more efficient and maybe even someday profitable - all good for science.
Now, film director James Cameron wants to go, maybe with the idea of making a movie to popularize space travel. And if Michael Jackson really wants to moon walk . . . Well...
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.