Monday, August 18, 2014

Selling an All-Inclusive Getaway to Saturn

I walked into the storefront Intergalactic TravelBureau on West 36th Street and, after waiting a few minutes, the first available agent – dressed in a clear poncho and pink flight steward’s hat — invited me to sit on their pink inflatable loveseat.

Waiting for customers on a Saturday afternoon at ITB.

Zach began like any good brick n’ mortar travel agent, asking me if I’d like some dehydrated Tang or freeze-dried blueberry yoghurt.

And in his gentle patter, what type of vacation was I interested in? Was I looking for rustic, outdoorsy, maybe great scenery?

When I said I loved stunning architecture, he recommended the Moon

"You can take a selfie with Neil Armstrong's foot print,” he noted. “You can visit the remains of the Eagle lander vehicle.” Zach assured me that the moon was very interesting and close by, too. Only three days’ flight. 

However, since I was sitting in a pop up store run by to bring science and technology studies to an average Joe level, I wanted to explore even further.

Mars?” he asked. “It’s very popular, different climates, for the rustic traveler who’s not demanding... but loves outdoor adventures.”  

ITB helped me envision what our Mars trek would be like!

When I mentioned I would bring my family along on any of these packaged vacations, he confidently said Saturn should be our first choice.

"Oh! Saturn is the most popular with families because of the diverse activities… and there are millions of orbiting condos.”  Really?  I wondered if these were the famous golden rings.

Not really, Zach explained, the rings come from an accumulation of dust, rocks and ice, some are gas and wouldn’t support hotels, some are as big as a speck of sand, but many have room for large resorts.

Isn’t it far away, wouldn’t we be too old to enjoy it when we arrived? Zach assured me that it would take seven years to get there, so many families began when kids were in preschool so they would be teens by the time they arrived.

He encouraged me, saying that Saturn was fun, and families enjoy spending time at the lakes.  "You can go swimming but you need thermal suits,” he added, "because the lakes are made of liquid methane. Very cold."

That set me aback, but he added that our family could rent all the gear we’d need. 

Is there a better season to go, I asked hopefully.  Mars is great in fall he suggested, but Saturn is, “Well, throughout the year it’s cold… and colder… because it’s so far away from our sun."

Would we be alone on our orbiting condo I wondered, would the kids make any new friends?  

Zach assured me we’d meet other people on the day trips; everyone liked visiting Titan. And as part of the Intergalactic Travel Bureau’s Saturn all-inclusive packages, they provide all the transportation.  

I had been so caught up in the story of our next vacation that I had forgotten to ask the price.  He pulled a worksheet out of his clipboard. "For travel through 2015, it’s $32.8 billion per person,” he said nonchalantly.  “I do think it’s the best choice for you… After all, Saturn is is the most popular destination for families."

Pricing for most popular all inclusive vacation packages at ITB.

The fun scientists and educators at Guerilla Science first presented the Intergalactic Travel Bureau  at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England in 2011, toured the US, and did a repeat visit to New York City the weekend of August 14-16, 2014.  

They remain committed to presenting science in fun and approachable ways, all the while promoting the wonders of space travel. Follow @GalacticTravelB on Twitter for more information on their next installation, coming to Washington DC soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment