Forgot to bring your wallet to the Red Planet Gift Shop? Not to worry. If a recent rumor is true, you may be able to pay for that Martian trinket by using PayPal.
Speculation is going around that PayPal, in cooperation with NASA, the Space Tourism Society, and the SETI Institute, will be announcing a payment program for space tourists later this month.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the new program will be called PayPal Galactic — which, with all due respects to Virgin Galactic, has a totally cool ring to it.
Greg Bensinger from the WSJ reports:
PayPal will likely announce the framework of the program on June 27, according to a media alert sent out today. A spokesman declined to comment on the program.
Space tourism has largely been a rich man’s game. Virgin Galactic LLC, for instance, is accepting $250,000 down-payments for seats on possible future flights; the company says over 600 have paid. Billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are also building space craft in their spare time.
Facilitating payments in space flight would help extend PayPal’s reach far offline. The company, known for funneling cash between eBay buyers and sellers, has been branching out into bricks-and-mortar retail, including through an agreement to accept PayPal at Home Depot Inc. stores and through Discover Financial Services’ network.
I love the note above about how it will help "extend PayPal's reach far offline." Indeed, it'll be interesting to see just how far offline this reach will be extended!
Wonder what they're going to do about latency issues; I heard that transactions over stellar distances can be a bitch.
Top image: Magic Fox/Deviant Art.