|
7
Experience Weightlessness

ZERO-G's Boeing 727 G-FORCE ONE on display at the Paris Air Show exhibit

Mark Williamson/Oxford Scientific/Getty Images

People usually go on vacation to "take a load off," and in zero gravity, you can literally do just that. The most practical way to have this experience is to climb aboard G-FORCE ONE, a modified Boeing 727 that creates a weightless environment for its passengers by performing a series of parabolic arcs while in flight. The plane, owned by the company ZERO-G, made its first flight in 2004 after an 11-year approval process with the Federal Aviation Administration. Today, its primary locations are Cape Canaveral, Fla., Las Vegas, Nev., and San Jose, Calif., though it tours through other airports as well, giving people across the country a chance to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Better hang on to your wallet, though; eight minutes of weightlessness will set you back about $5,000.

If you actually want to go to space to experience weightlessness, that's going to cost a little more. OK, a lot more. Currently the only way to get there is through a company called Space Adventures, which will put you on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and send you to the International Space Station for about 12 days. The price tag? Twenty-five million dollars. However, companies like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are now developing more cost-effective ways to send people to space. The former, owned by British entrepreneur Richard Branson, is currently selling tickets for a seat on the SpaceShipTwo, which is scheduled to make its first commercial flight by the end of 2012.

|