Ground control to David Bowie — now we’re dealing with a real space oddity: Sir Richard Branson announced via his website on Monday that Ashton Kutcher had become the 500th “astronaut” to reserve space on his Virgin Galactic spacecraft, which will blast off… soon. The exact date has not yet been set. SpaceShipTwo is still in the midst of free-glide flight tests, giving us plenty of time to speculate on what AshtonStar Galactica will actually be like.
Now, keep in mind, Kutcher won’t be the only celebrity on board. Stephen Hawking will also be taking the suborbital tour, which will launch Kutcher and co. 50,000 feet into space, giving them a full zero-gravity experience and a dazzling view of Earth that most of us plebs only marginally experience at IMAX theatres, or EPCOT. The price tag for this madcap adventure? $200,000. A pretty hefty sum for those of us in the 99%, but a total steal for Lance Bass, who just couldn’t cough up the $20 million he needed to fly to the international space station back when boy bands still mattered.
But wait, there’s more — Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Katy Perry, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Tom Hanks are also rumored to be on the flight list, which already includes an impressive mix of businessfolk and geniuses. Branson himself will board with his children on the first commercial flight, which is starting to give this whole thing a very eerie, Deep Impact sort of feel.
Fellow paranoid schizophrenics, stay with me: Is Branson actually preparing a pre-selected, elitist fleet to rebuild our annihilated society in some far-off distant galaxy after an impending extinction event? Did he include Kutcher so that Two and a Half Men could air forever? And finally, hypothetically, if Richard Branson were a character on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, would he be Adama, or Gaius Baltar?