Always wanted to go to space, but put off by Richard Branson's beard (or the hundreds of thousands of pounds 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 £9 and £55, depending 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 — £55 to go to space! — the cost/reward ratio isn't great: if everyone pays an average of £30 to enter, that means that Spaceship Earth Grants are getting £1.5 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 £150,000, 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]
Image credit: Rocket launch from Shutterstock