Now you can travel to the Moon… for just $100 million

now you can travel to the moon for just 100 million almazThe long-standing science fiction dream of going to the Moon for a vacation looks set to become a reality thanks to a new start-up company and its refurbished Russian hardware. Of course, what a lunar trip may lack in atmosphere, it’ll make up for in prestige: The package will cost $100 million, ensuring that you’re unlikely to run into everyone you know during your extra-terrestrial getaway.

Of course, Excalibur Almaz, a Houston, Texas based company, isn’t actually offering the opportunity to follow in Neil Armstrong’s footsteps and walk on the moon – the company’s vacation deal will only take you as far as lunar orbit, where you’ll spend a few days on board a space station spinning around the moon before coming back down to Earth (literally). Before that, you’ll have spent time in a special training camp that will not only include a flight on the XCOR Lynx suborbital spaceplane to get you used to zero gravity situations, but also a crash course in learning to fly a spacecraft, just in case something happens to your pilot and you want to avoid an actual crash during your trip.

If you’re wondering how founder Art Dula, who has an impressive three-decade history in the space business, made all this happen, the answer is surprisingly simple: He has a good eye for a bargain. The company’s spacecraft are all former Soviet craft that Dula purchased years ago and has had refit for commercial usage. According to the company’s official website, the craft – four Reusable Reentry Vehicles (None of which have ever been flown manned; for the purposes of EA’s business plan, each one will seat three people) and two “large Salyut-Class Spacecraft… equivalent to the Russian Mir core or the International Space Station (ISS) Zarya module” – have been “tested and possess a history of reliability.” Should you find yourself less than comforted about the age of the hardware, you shouldn’t; the Soviet space program is still using refurbished hardware of the same age or older with little to no difficulty, and the modern refurbishment has included modern solar arrays, environmental and flight controls, as well as thrusters and communications equipment. The company has also contracted with EADS Astrium to create a new intermediate propulsion stage, and has agreed to meet with US space agency standards before launch.

The Excalibur Almaz site describes the company’s goal as “lunar exploration libration point missions, asteroid mining and other long term business in space,” which sounds much more noble than “vacations in space,” let’s be honest. But, according to the company,  the latter option has come up as much from consumer demand and the costliness of lower orbit missions for scientific research. And let’s be honest: Even with the hefty price tag – and $100 million is a lot of money – you’re still finding yourself very tempted by the option, aren’t you?

Emerging Tech

Will we ever fly supersonic again? Unraveling the concorde’s complex legacy

In a new book, Last Days of the Concorde, journalist and author Samme Chittum delves into the mindset that inspired engineers to design this marvel, the series of events that led to its fatal crash, and the possibility that commercial SSTs…
Emerging Tech

Boston Dynamics is trying to make fetch happen with its new working robot dog

Boston Dynamics wants to see Spot in the workplace, but not as part of take-your-dog-to-work days. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the technology company believes its extraordinary robo-dog is now ready to start work.
Outdoors

Sleep comfortably under the stars in one of the best tents

An essential piece of gear whether you're camping in your backyard or on a multi-day backpacking trip, here are our picks of the best tents currently on the market from car camping varieties to the best three-person option.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Smart Home

Simplisafe steps outside the smart home with its Video Doorbell Pro

SimpiSafe is pushing into the smart home market by introducing a new high-tech video doorbell that includes 1080p HD monitoring and a dual-sensor motion trigger that combines a body heat detector and a motion detector.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo vs. Echo Plus: Which should you get?

If you're trying to choose between the Amazon Echo or the Echo Plus, then this guide is for you. It compares the two Alexa-enabled speakers in cost, size, looks, functionality, and more.
Deals

Add color and subtract $50 with this Philips Hue lighting starter kit deal

If you've been on the fence about purchasing smart lightbulbs, Amazon is selling the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit for just $100. For a limited time Amazon is also offering a bundle deal of Philips Hue's White and Color…
Smart Home

Second-gen vs. third-gen Echo Dot: What’s the difference?

Amazon's third-generation Echo Dot was just released. Is it worth upgrading your second-generation Echo Dot? Here, we take a closer look at the two devices to see how much Amazon has improved its flagship Alexa voice assistant smart…
Smart Home

Amazon has an even dozen new smart devices. Here’s how to order

Amazon's hardware announcement meant a whole bunch of new Amazon Alexa gadgets. From a microwave to stereo equipment, here is the complete list of devices that were announced, as well as reviews for some.
Smart Home

Vector, the engaging Alexa-like robot, is ready to roam around your home

Anyone who has ever watched Short Circuit or WALL-E has surely dreamed about having a robot buddy come live with them. Finally, that dream is now a reality. It's name is Vector, and it's available now.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Deals

The best iRobot Roomba deals to make cleaning your home a breeze

Keep your home clean without lifting a finger using a robot vacuum cleaner. These nine iRobot Roomba deals not only help you keep your home tidy, but many also come with advanced features such as automatic scheduling and Wi-Fi connectivity.