You can now book a trip to space by balloon

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In many ways, the world has gone mad. While we are making huge leaps in technology and science, in other areas we are clearly going backward. We have known that the Earth is round since 5BC when ancient Greek philosophers took account of it in some of their calculations. Pythagoras too proposed that it was round as it was the only way a number of his theories made sense. In the centuries since it became common knowledge and was accepted as fact. Since that time we have learned how to actually leave Earth and enter space, allowing astronauts to take pictures of the planet Earth and prove beyond any doubt that it is round. Despite this, there are still those who don’t believe it. Flat-Earthers are those that think Earth is flat and they may be the most foolish people on the planet. There is good news. A new business has just emerged that aims to send people to the stratosphere. This will allow Flat-Earthers to see that the Earth is round and allow anyone else in the world to enjoy an incredible trip.

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Space-Perspective is a company that has caused quite a stir this week as it announced that it plans to operate a commercial balloon flight company. The balloon will send people 30 kilometers into the air where they will be able to see the curvature of the Earth and space beyond. 30 kilometers is technically not Outerspace. According to experts, you would need to fly about 100 kilometers directly away from Earth to reach Outerspace. Anything else is still technically within Earth’s boundary. Yet 30 kilometers is enough to reach the stratosphere and see an incredible view of a large part of Earth, allowing the curve of the Earth to be visible and the dark void of space beyond. 

Testing for the flights will start in 2021 with the commercial operation expected to begin within the next three years. The idea is brilliantly simple. A large balloon filled with hydrogen will have a small capsule attached. It will float into the air with a crew inside the capsule. The crew will consist of scientists, passengers, and one pilot. Once the balloon reaches the stratosphere the pilot will alter the balloon weight and allow it to float in the stratosphere for a number of hours before further reducing the hydrogen and allowing it to float back down to Earth. Depending on the winds at the time the balloon will float into the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean and a boat will be on hand to pick up the passengers. 

It is an incredible idea. Amazingly simple yet still requiring a lot of testing and understanding of outer space. To send a balloon that far into the world without an engine seems incredibly scary as it is under the control of weather patterns. The flight will be expensive with early estimates indicating a price of $125,000. If this sounds like a ridiculous price to you, then think again. The price is actually half what Virgin Galactic has charged for the early-bird buyers of its first planned trip to space, which was $250,000. Virgin Galactic will be charging higher prices for future buyers as well. Clearly the Space-Perspective company is the budget option. Of course, if you really have an endless supply of money and time, you could pay millions and visit the International Space Station on a rocket today.

While it is a lot of money to pay simply to prove that the Earth is flat, others will happily spend this amount to visit the true edge of the world. The company plans to offer special services such as wedding ceremonies in the future and while that may sound insane to you and me, the rich and famous are likely queueing up to be among the first on the balloon that leaves Earth.