CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — Future space travelers may be able to pay among the stars when they go to see what Spring is like on Jupiter and Mars. That’s because PayPal announced on Wednesday the launch of PayPal Galactic to help make universal space payments a reality. The online payment giant said in a release that “PayPal Galactic brings together leaders in the scientific community, including the SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society, to prepare and support the future of space commerce.”
“As space tourism programs are opening space travel to ‘the rest of us’ this drives questions about the commercialization of space. We are launching PayPal Galactic, in conjunction with leaders in the scientific community, to increase public awareness of the important questions that need to be addressed,” said David Marcus, PayPal’s President. “We may not answer these questions today or even this year, but one thing is clear, we won’t be using cash in space. PayPal has already pushed payments into the Internet, onto phones and across terrestrial borders. We look forward to pushing payments from our world to the next, and beyond.”
The PayPal Galactic initiative claims that there is already the need for a galactic payment system exists. Astronauts inhabiting space stations still need to pay for life’s necessities—from their bills back on Earth to their entertainment, like music and e-books, while in space.
“Within five to ten years the earliest types of ‘space hotels’ and orbital and lunar commerce will be operational and in need of a payment system,” said John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society.
Payments in outer space open up entirely new possibilities for space commerce. Will other companies follow suit with the delivery of goods into space? Amazon.com, which announced the planned addition of distribution warehouses in Florida earlier this month has remained tight-lipped on whether the warehouse would be located on Florida’s Space Coast near Kennedy Space Center or any other possible location in the Sunshine State.
“We have no announcements at this time about potential market location in Florida,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Cheeseman told Brevard Times last week when asked if Brevard County was in the running. “There are a lot of contributing factors that go into our thought process as we decide where to place a new fulfillment center. Most importantly, we want to make sure a fulfillment center is placed as close to the customer as possible to ensure we can offer a great Prime service and good shipping speeds to customers.”
But it is no secret that Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is a huge fan of space and even headed a recovery mission that brought Saturn V first stage rocket engines from 14,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface back to Cape Canaveral earlier this year.
“Millions of people were inspired by the Apollo Program. I was five years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration,” Bezos wrote during the recovery mission. “NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds. It sure inspired me, and with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore.”
“Trips to Mars, the moon, even orbit will require we provide astronauts and astro-tourists with as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other,” said Astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin. “Whether it’s paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money. I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime. When that happens I won’t be surprised if people use PayPal Galactic for the little things and the big ones.”
“PayPal and the SETI Institute are well-matched to work on PayPal Galactic because together we can create a recipe for innovation,” said Jill Tarter, the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for the SETI Institute. “PayPal envisions exploring possibilities in space the way that we do, breaking boundaries to make real progress. When the SETI Institute succeeds in its exploration of the universe, and as we find our place among the stars, PayPal will be there to facilitate commerce, so people can get what they need, and want, to live outside of our planet.”
The announcement with PayPal President David Marcus and Astronaut and author Buzz Aldrin takes place during a media event today, June 27, at noon Eastern Daylight Times at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.
To support the SETI Institute and its mission to improving the understanding of life on Earth, and the search for life beyond it, PayPal is launching a crowdfunding campaign powered by FundRazr. The SETI Institute’s scientists play an active role in some of the world’s most advanced scientific ventures, including groundbreaking studies in astrobiology and radio astronomical research with the Allen Telescope Array. Donations to support SETI Institute and the science of space can be made at www.seti.org/curiositymovement
Image Credit: NASA