Most Americans Would Rather Not When It Comes to Space Tourism

Even as space travel becomes more common, most people don't want to hop on a spacecraft.

In addition to the evergreen options such as camping, going to the beach, and hiking up the mountains, a new vacation idea just unlocked—and it has to do with casually traveling to space.

But hold your horses. Before you get too excited about the prospect of roaming freely among the stars, you should know that leisurely space travel is technically not a thing yet—or better, it is (you can book your space balloon trip!) but it isn't part of the common travel routine just yet. According to a new survey, though, it is surely an expectation of many, and a hopeful thought of some, albeit a minority of folks.

The Pew Research Center just released the results from a 2023 survey that asked 10,329 American adults their take on various aspects of space exploration. One of the questions pertained directly to space tourism, and most people are pretty optimistic that the practice will become pretty common in the not-so-distant future. More than half of the Americans surveyed (55%) expect that people will routinely travel in space as tourists in the next 50 years. That doesn't mean that all those who think this will be the next big thing in travel are interested in actually doing it, however. Only 35% of surveyed individuals, in fact, said they'd be interested in orbiting the Earth in a spacecraft, while the remaining 65% would politely decline the offer.

Compared to results from a few years ago, there is definitely an uptick in what Americans think will be possible in the future. The same question about expectations on space tourism was last asked in 2018 by Pew, and at the time only 50% of the surveyed populations expressed positive expectations, which is 5% points lower than this year.

Forget about actually moving to another planet, though—Americans seem to be optimistic only about the possibility of being tourists in space, but when it comes to longer periods of time away from our home planet, they're definitely more on the fence. According to the same survey, only 35% of individuals believe that colonies for long-term stays will be built on other planets in the next 50 years, while the remaining 65% of people believe this will not happen. And apparently, this has been a constant in the last few years—results from the 2018 survey show that this specific percentage has remained unchanged.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.