Move over, New Mexico! Members of the Scottish National Party are calling for a military airbase at Lossiemouth to become a space tourism launch site… insert your own “highland fling” gag here. [tip o’ the topper to Darren Turpin]
Say what you like about Richard Branson, but the man’s got standards and he sticks to ’em. One of those standards would appear to be not corrupting his brands with what some punters might consider to be unsavoury business… at least that’s my guess after hearing that Virgin Galactic have declined an up-front offer of US$1 million cash to film the first* zero-G pr0n movie on SpaceShipTwo.
[ * – Well, the first one featuring humans, at least. ]
Further proof (if such were needed) that the world is a stranger place than we possibly need or deserve it to be. Japan’s new tourism ambassador to China is someone that you probably recognise and indeed may well have met at some point in your life: Hello Kitty. [image by Adam Greenfield image removed at owner’s request]
Hey, you got post-modern cuteness in my international relations! That said, Hello Kitty has been the US children’s ambassador to Unicef since 1983 (who knew?).
Have we finally accepted the idea that talking heads and ambassadors don’t need to be real people? There are embassies in Second Life, as well. Maybe we could get Captain Planet to take a run at re-establishing some of the Kyoto directives … [via MetaFilter]
Whatever you may think of Branson, Virgin Galactic, Burt Rutan and space tourism in general, you have to admit that there’s something deliciously skiffy about the look of SpaceShipTwo.
I don’t care about practicalities when I see images like that – I just want to take a ride on the thing. Like, today. [Image from linked article – click through for a few more, including construction shots.]
Leading on nicely from Tomas’s post about "space as the third option" last week, IEEE’s Spectrum has an interview with one of the living legends of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke. He talks about hearing the announcement of the Sputnik success, his hopes for the space tourism industry, and his continued faith in the space elevator concept – which was popularized (but not invented) by its appearance in his book Fountains of Paradise. [Via The Space Elevator Blog] [Image borrowed from the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation]