American space exploration company, SpaceX has recently launched a series of retro-ads for various attractions on Mars. The ads, which evoke memories of Flash Gordon and the Jetsons with their 50’s charm, showcase potential Martian, geologically-themed holiday destinations. From Olympus Mons – the solar system’s highest peak – to Valles Marineris, Mars’ great rift valley, the ads stoke the imaginations of many dreaming of visiting the Red Planet.
Entitled “Mars Colonization and Tourism Association” the series of ads sees potential tourists sporting jumpsuits and jetpacks, enjoying a space cruise around Mar’s moons, and more. Part tongue-in-cheek humor at the expense of our mid-20th century, overly-optmistic, visions of the future, the ads also serve another purposes. Their primary aim is to spark the imagination of the public in the 21st century, while launching a discussion about the future of the space sector. They also have educational value, informing viewers about the various geographical features mentioned above.
While we cannot (yet) journey to Mars and beyond on a whim, companies like SpaceX are pioneering Earth’s nascent private space sector. SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk is an avid space and technology guru, who has repeatedly advocated for more global focus on space. Musk has been active in several technology fields, having co-founded PayPal, he branched out into high performance electric vehicles by founding Tesla Motors.
Musk has also hypothesized about future space mining and space tourism operations. Currently, the only space tourists have been those few who have paid between $20-40 million to visit the International Space Station (ISS) by reserving seats on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
This service has halted in 2010 during the crew expansion of the ISS, but is expected to resume sometime in 2015. Other services is the upcoming $250,000 trips offered by Virgin Galactic to the edge of space, allowing passengers to experience weightlessness.