What You Missed From PayPal's Event About Paying For Things In Space

paypal galactic

PayPal announced “PayPal Galactic” today.

It’s no less than a way to pay for things while you’re in outer space. And no, it’s not a joke.

Companies like Virgin and SpaceX are making space tourism a very real and viable thing. And futurists love to speculate about this stuff and add more fuel to the fire, hypothesizing about “space yachts” for people who fancy themselves the next Christopher Columbus, races around the moon, even new sports played in outer space.

During a press event this afternoon, company president David Marcus alluded to some of the more interesting problems to solve before PayPal Galactic becomes a practical reality. There are no IP addresses in space, for example. How do you record, track, and verify transactions without this basic element of online identity?

PayPal said very little of substance during this event. There were no details on timeframe, consumer expectations, how it will work, or any other pertinent details that would-be space travellers would surely want to know.

That said, Buzz Aldrin made an entertaining appearance and put forward the idea that there will be a permanent human presence on Mars within the next generation. If he’s right, then PayPal Galactic could mean big business.

PayPal president David Marcus explained the idea of a space payments system in an introductory video.

Sean Casey of the Silicon Valley Space centre suggests that space commerce will soon extend far beyond tourism.

Dr. Frank Drake of the SETI Institute was on hand to explain why it's important to pay attention to space. He showed this graphic of countless previously-unknown planetary systems that have presented themselves as candidates for habitation.

Dr. Margaret Race, Senior Research Scientist at SETI, also expounded on why it's increasingly important to pay attention to outer space.

John Spencer of the Space Tourism Society hypothesized about a world where people regularly travel to space for work and recreation. We love the idea of space yachts.

Here's Sean Casey again, talking about the companies that are already deriving revenue from efforts in outer space.

Then Buzz Aldrin wrapped everything up by sharing some of his recollections and experiences from space.

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