The founder of zero2infinity, José Mariano López-Urdiales, is in the process of creating a 400-foot balloon with the ability to travel up to 36 km (22 miles) above the earth. He calls his invention a “bloon” and hopes to have it ready for use in less than 10 years. López-Urdiales wants to combine the relaxing experience of traveling in a hot air balloon with the thrill of seeing the earth ensconced by its blue atmosphere.
López-Urdiales, an MIT graduate, began publishing papers on the topic of balloons as vehicles for high-altitude travel approximately 10 years ago. Although at the time he did not have the means to bring his dream into fruition, he did not give up on himself and his dream. Now, in addition to many private investors, Caixa Capital Risc, a Spanish venture capital company, has offered the project their financial support.
With other companies such as Virgin Galactic working on what they call “space tourism vehicles”, it is not hard to imagine space as the posh travel destination of the future. López-Urdiales’ bloon rides will last for up to 6 hours, longer than what Virgin Galactic projects for themselves, and will cost over $150,000 US dollars a person. Don’t worry about the cost though, you still have a few years to start saving up.