Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
By Lucy Nicholson
Having just trundled past cattle and tumbleweed through the high desert red plains of southern New Mexico, Elizabeth Mixon stepped off a tour bus to face the future.
She breathed in the dry air at the edge of Spaceport America and imagined the adventure of the first tourists destined to launch from the nearly quarter-billion-dollar facility.
“If you got up there, it would just be you and God,” she exclaimed with a smile on her face. “Wouldn’t that be cool?”
Mixon won’t be along for the $250,000 ride. At 83 and legally blind, she is only here for the tour, one of the many dreamers exploring this dusty outpost where Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic plans to launch one of the world’s first suborbital commercial spaceships as early as this year.
Spaceport America spokesman David Wilson envisions a launching off point for global travel, to build tourist resorts in space, colonize Mars and mine resources on other planets. He expects around 200,000 visitors to the spaceport each year, which was bankrolled by the state.