One day, we may inhabit Mars.
Before that, we'll likely be able to see the cosmos via commercial space flight.
But first: the chance to explore space with a giant balloon.
Space Perspective is the enterprising outfit behind this latest initiative, which will see you ascend 100,000 feet above the Earth inside the cozy confines of a pressurized capsule powered by said balloon. Launches are expected to occur as early as 2021, and you can reserve your spot now.
The balloon itself is roughly the size of a football stadium. The capsule it's carrying (that's where you'll be) can comfortably fit eight passengers, plus a pilot. Inside you'll find reclining seats, a bar for refreshments and a bathroom—so you've got all the essentials. And its exterior is floor-to-ceiling tinted glass for a 360-degree view of your surroundings.
You'll take off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL—yes, just like a real astronaut. The entire trip takes six hours: two to ascend and descend, plus two to hang out at the edge of space. One hundred thousand feet is about 19 miles up, or three times higher than your typical airplane. At that height, you'll get a new perspective of Earth, from the sun rising over its curved arc to the colors set against the blackness of space.
When it's time to come back to sea level, you'll comfortably descend and ultimately land in the ocean, where the capsule will be plucked out of the water by a ship.
It's a short trip, it's not cheap, and you may not be hailed as a hero upon your return.
But you'll probably get some great pictures out of it.