A rendering of the space hotel Marina
Do you have a hankering for adventure and several million dollars laying around? Then this might be the perfect getaway opportunity for you, if you can hold on tight for a few years.
NASA recently held a competition, which was won by a team of graduate students from MIT, to design a commercially enabled habitable module for use low in Earth’s orbit.
Translation: the MIT team basically just won a competition to design a luxury space hotel.
The hotel would float just about 100-1,200 miles above Earth’s surface, and be made up of eight inflatable rooms arranged in a circle, kind of like a ceiling fan, attached to a NASA space station at the center.
The design is called the Managed, Reconfigurable, In-space Nodal Assembly, or, if that’s too much of a mouthful, Marina. It could be operational by the mid 2020’s if production were started today, said MIT graduate fellow and Marina team member George Lordos in an email to Mashable.
So, what is there to do at Marina? Guests will be able to don a spacesuit for a spacewalk if they’d like, enjoy dinner at the hotel’s bar or restaurant, or go for a workout in the gym, which is definitely a must-do in the weightless cabin. The gym will also reportedly feature an Earth-facing window, so you can gaze back at the planet you left behind.
Image: MIT marina project team
Mars Transit Habitat spacecraft constructed using modules also used on Marina
No need to worry about hotel staff being too swamped to pay you proper attention— Marina will have four staff members for up to 16 guests, so you’ll be sure to get individual care during your stay.
Marina is not just a hotel for the fearless adventurer, however. Marina could also help NASA astronauts reach a once-impossible goal at a reduced cost: Mars.
"NASA can fly astronauts to the Marina station and perform experiments and develop technology needed for the journey to Mars," Lordos said via email to Mashable on Tuesday. "The concept works well because the space tourists and NASA astronauts both require similar services while in orbit, i.e. life support, food, gym, etc."
The cost for each guest comes out to, at the low end, $5 million for a two-week trip, including transportation there and back. Yikes. But hey, I guess if you’re a billionaire whose seen everything there is on Earth, it would be worth it to go celestial.