Whether it’s a blast into suborbital space or a stay in a hotel among the stars, space tourism entrepreneurs believe that one day we’ll all be opting for an out-of-this-world vacation.
The team behind the Moon World Resorts think so too – more or less.
They want to build a series of gigantic dome-like hotels that resemble the moon, sitting here on planet Earth. More precisely, in Dubai .
Each dome will be a full-scale 360-degree recreation of the moon, complete with realistic craters and textures. Each recreated moon can reach a height of 224 meters (224 meters), depending on location and planning permissions.
Canadian businessman Michael R. Henderson, co-founder of Moon World Resorts, told CNN Travel that the heart of the project is that the moon is a “recognizable mark”.
“Seven and a half billion people know this, everyone loves it,” he says.
According to Henderson, each Moon World Resort will be “a very luxurious and contemporary, fully integrated destination resort with many components inside that you already know” – for example, a convention center, restaurants, spa.
The artistic renderings feature spaceship-style interiors and themed entertainment – including what Henderson considers the attraction’s highlight, an experience that replicates what it’s like to walk on the moon.
“We will give you the ability to walk on what you believe to be the lunar surface,” says Henderson.
Moon World Resorts has been in the works for two decades, a timeline that Henderson, who previously founded a medical services company, suggests matches the slower pace associated with space tourism in general.
The project comes with “enormous technical challenges,” explains Henderson, but he and co-founder Sandra G. Matthews are working with independent engineers and architects to make the concept a reality.
“Basically, we have a plethora of groups around the world that we just attract as we need them. But obviously, once the project actually starts to be built, they will be located in a certain region,” he says.
The long-term goal is to build four Moon resorts, one in North America, one in Europe, one in the Middle East and North Africa and one in Asia.
Moon World Resorts is a licensing company, so Henderson intends to license each Moon World Resort to licensees with spending money.
The United Arab Emirates, and specifically Dubai, were named by the company as a “pioneer” for the opening of the first Moon World resort. Henderson says this is because the UAE is “very popular for tourists” and is home to “a lot of infrastructure” projects.
However, Henderson also suggests that there are “other options emerging”, refusing to share more for now.
Space tourism currently comes at a high price and, for now, is a barrier to entry for most travelers. Virgin Galactic, for example, recently sold spacewalks for $450,000.
Henderson says the Moon World Resort experience will be significantly cheaper, suggesting that signing up to walk the resort’s “lunar surface” will cost guests $500.
The cost could also keep futuristic projects like Moon World Resorts from getting past the conceptual stage, but Henderson suggests the licensing model makes the project viable.
“It’s not so much looking for capital,” he explains. “The purpose of a licensor, like us, is to find the licensee. And once you get the license, you’ll have the money for the projects that already exist — because we’re not talking about small companies, it’s going to be big international corporations.”
Henderson expects the first licensee, who is expected to invest $5 billion in construction, to be secured by the end of 2022. He envisions the opening of the first Moon World resort five years later, in 2027.
Henderson hopes that each Moon World Resort will become a destination in its own right. Even if people aren’t staying there, or checking out the space-age facilities, he imagines travelers will simply gawk at the building.
He names architectural structures such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as inspiration on this front,
“Obviously, people like to see representations of what’s going on in the countryside. But I think a lot of people will be excited when you look at the biggest sphere in the world – I think this is going to be the most amazing,” she says.
Source: CNN Brasil
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