When you’ve visited every place on Earth that you ever wanted to see, what’s a seasoned traveler to do next? If you have the money, the answer may be to book your next vacation into outer space. For now, this kind of tourism is very expensive, but companies like Virgin Galactic are working to make space tourism more popular, and eventually more affordable, for people who love to travel.
For most of us, however, space tourism is way out of our budget. Thankfully, there are some great movies about space travel that are the next best thing. These aren’t movies about military exploits in space, or about astronauts, but rather about average people taking a vacation in space.
1. Space Tourists (2010)
This documentary by Christian Frei premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and chronicles the journey of Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist. Her journey cost her a staggering $20 million, but as the film’s tagline says, “How can you put a price on a dream?”
Ansari spends time on the International Space Station, and part of the filming was done with the assistance of cosmonauts Mikhail Tyurin and Pavel Vinogradov.
2. A Trip to the Moon (1902)
A group of turn of the century astronomers are shot to the moon from a cannon. Not trained astronauts, these mild-mannered intellectuals are unprepared for the strange creatures they encounter. It’s pure fantasy, but its exuberance really captures the excitement anyone would feel when traveling outside of Earth’s atmosphere for the first time.
3. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
Englishman Arthur Dent discovers that his neighbor isn’t from Guilford, but actually from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. He travels around the galaxy visiting different planets and learning about the nature of the universe. Based on the hilarious novel by Douglas Adams, the film version with Mos Def and Martin Freeman is really great, and it really showcases the number of strange worlds and creatures we might one day discover if space tourism gets really advanced. Hopefully by then we’ll have a resource as complete as the Hitchhiker’s Guide.
4. Total Recall (1990)
A construction worker decides to take a virtual trip to Mars, but learns that his memories have been tampered with. In order to find out the truth about his past, he decides to take an actual trip to the red planet and find out why his brain was altered. This film shows the darker side of a future where space tourism is possible, and is based on the story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick.