Top 10 Space Tourism Destinations of the Future

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
For this list, we're looking at the best locations for outer space tourism within the confines of our own solar system. Since these opportunities don't yet exist, this is all more like sci fi than a typical MojoTravels script, but hey, we all need dreams.
Top 10 Space Tourism Destinations of the Future

The world’s billionaires are funding projects that will one day see interplanetary travel become a reality. Hopefully. Welcome to MojoTravels and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 space tourism destinations of the future.

For this list, we’re looking at the best locations for outer space tourism within the confines of our own solar system. Since these opportunities don’t yet exist, this is all more like sci fi than a typical MojoTravels script, but hey, we all need dreams.

#10: Olympus Mons

Volcanic regions have always spelled excitement for tourists, whether the devastated ruins of Pompeii, Hawaii’s fiery islands, or Yellowstone National Park. With that in mind, the largest volcano in the entire solar system should be a major draw. Olympus Mons, named after the mountain the Greek gods inhabit, is more than double Mount Everest’s height and about the same size as Arizona. Even Mars’s smaller volcanoes are much larger than any on Earth, which researchers speculate is to do with Mars’s low gravity. The low gravity would also make climbing them a little easier, but it’s still certainly not a task for the faint of heart.

#9: The Sun

Manned missions to the sun (well, near the sun) are a long way off, but NASA’s Parker Solo Probe, sent to sample the solar atmosphere, offers hope that someday humans, too, could visit. While the sun is, of course, unimaginably hot – its surface temperature burning at just under 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit – we could still get a lot closer than we are at the moment. We could witness coronal mass ejections, solar flares, and the majesty of the star that gives us life. Without the sun we wouldn’t be here, so let’s pay it the respect it deserves – from a suitably safe distance, that is.

#8: Io’s Supervolcanoes

If Olympus Mons isn’t active enough for you, Jupiter’s moon Io also has plenty of volcanic sights to see. Nicknamed “The Pizza Moon”, IO has multiple supervolcanic depressions, the largest of which is Loki Patera, which also has a lava lake. Today we may not have the equipment to tell when an Ionian volcano is going to erupt (which we’d certainly need to install to avoid being thrown into space by torrents of fire) but one day the region could become a (literal) hotbed of tourist activity. Travelling to Io wouldn’t be without its risks, of course, but provided you had an escape plan, exploring its sulphurous calderas would be nothing short of wondrous.

#7: Europa’s Subsurface Ocean

Beneath Europa’s vast covering of space ice, a buried ocean awaits, one which may have a similar chemical makeup to Earth. These factors combine to make this moon of Jupiter one of the best prospects in the solar system for finding alien life, hidden dozens of miles below the ice where we have yet to discover it. That mystery could be solved in a space-oriented future; voyages to Europa’s murky depths could become as common as cruises! And if there is life out there, who knows? It could give people the chance to watch sea monsters in the wild! What could go wrong?

#6: The Apollo 11 Landing Site

This is an ideal destination because we’ve already visited it once! In fact, the entire appeal of going to the site of the lunar lander is that it’s a historical site. It stands as a testament to what mankind can achieve, and seeing Neil Armstrong’s famous footprint, perfectly preserved in the dust of the windless, lunar plane, could become a photo op as popular as the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty. Plus, we could once and for all prove that the moon landing wasn’t a hoax, letting people see first-hand, in the Sea of Tranquility, the proof of human ingenuity.

#5: The International Space Station

Tourism to the ISS would prove a little tricky because of its small size and status as an important research site. But perhaps in the distant future, humanity will branch out into the stars so much that the ISS will be left an empty vessel – perfect to be turned into a museum of some kind. People could float through the Zero G halls, marvelling at a time before artificial gravity was perfected, and watch recreations of old science experiments. It would also let people see Earth from above, perhaps even visitors who were born and raised on other planets, greeting them with a panoramic view of the home world.

#4: The Great Red Spot

Travelling into storms is ill-advised at the best of times, with airports and roads closing in an effort to keep people safe. So journeying to this vast stretch of Jupiter is the epitome of taking your life in your hands – but maybe it’ll be worth it. The Great Red Spot is a massive space storm twice as big as planet Earth and twice as powerful as Earth’s nastiest hurricane, and it’s been raging for centuries. A flyby would be storm chasing to the extreme, but some research suggests the storm may be shrinking. Whether this happens before or after the adrenaline junkies can get their fix, only time will tell.

#3: Titan’s Lakes

Titan is the only object in the solar system we know of, aside from Earth, to have bodies of liquid on its surface. These bodies, called lakes or seas depending on their size, are made up of liquid methane and ethane, and some are even large enough to rival North America’s Great Lakes. But these lakes on Saturn might be best reserved for photographs and postcards, because swimming in them would be next to impossible thanks to the low density of liquid methane; you’d just sink to the bottom. Then again, there could be a market in lake-floor walks, and the water pressure would be much lower; just be sure to wear a protective suit.

#2: Valles Marineris

If you want low-gravity hiking without the risk of devastating falls or altitude sickness that comes with Olympus Mons, then the canyon range Valles Marineris is everything you want. Nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of Mars,” Valles Marineris is so huge that the comparison to our Grand Canyon is a stretch. It extends one-fifth of Mars’s entire circumference and is 2,500 miles long, while the Grand Canyon is only 277 miles long. After we finally find out the truth of what happened to Mars’s water, the canyon system could be open to anybody willing to brave the frosty, Martian atmosphere for the adventure of a lifetime.

#1: Saturn’s Rings

Few space features have induced as much wonder in us as Saturn’s rings, which are hundreds of thousands of miles wide, and the largest found in our solar system. Seeing these rainbow-colored ice rings from above – though you’d best want to avoid trying to fly right through them – would be an experience like no other. And in addition, while Jupiter’s Red Spot might be dwindling, Saturn’s hexagon, a unique cloud formation at the planet’s north pole, has been going strong since at least 1981, when it was first observed by the Voyager space probe. Maybe human visitors could finally unravel its mysteries.