Why would a tourist want to take a trip to space? For the wealthy thrill seekers able to pay upwards of $450,000 for a seat with commercial space projects such as Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, the answer is likely to involve the pursuit of awe or wonder. Philosophers call the type of sensory and aesthetic stimuli that provoke it the sublime . On its face, the kind of short flight to the edge of space that looks set to be the predominant mode of space tourism, at least in the short term, seems the very definition of what the psychologist Abraham Maslow called a "peak experience." The kinetic thrill of rocketing to an altitude of over 50 miles, combined with the astonishing perspective it affords of our planet, invites us to believe that few adventures could be more profound. But picture the millionaire awe chaser when the big day comes around, and the capsule he has booked a seat on hurtles skyward into the deep blue of the upper mesosphere. The whole escapade is being recorded by HD cameras. A dulcet computer-generated voice provides the commentary. The chair is uncannily comfortable . The ride, controlled by cutting-edge A.I. technology,… Read full this story
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