You guys. You guys, it's happening. PayPal and members of the SETI Institute (like Jill Tarter) have teamed up to bring the world/solar neighborhood PayPal Galactic. Which is basically just like PayPal, only it's for space-payments.

PayPal president David Marcus had this to say, in a statement:

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. 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.

Buzz Aldrin, for his part, has weighed in, too:

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. 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.

The commercialization of space obviously raises some big questions. Here are some that PayPal says it's looking to address:

  • What will our standard currency look like in a truly cash-free interplanetary society?
  • How will the banking systems have to adapt?
  • How will risk and fraud management systems need to evolve?
  • What regulations will we have to conform with?
  • How will our customer support need to develop?

Can't wait to see where this goes. If space tourism does ramp up in the way PayPal is anticipating it will, this could be an incredibly savvy business move. If it doesn't? Well...

Read more at the newly minted PayPal Galactic website.