Iceland’s Landscapes Are Out of This World — and They Launched a Billboard Into Space to Prove It

Travelers can visit the same landscapes that NASA astronauts trained on before their inaugural spacewalk.

A sign for traveling to Iceland in Space.

Courtesy Hörður Sveinsson/Visit Iceland

Iceland is full of diverse geography that many say is other-wordly, and the country is capitalizing on that, welcoming travelers intent on space tourism to instead visit the European country.

The new campaign, aptly called Mission Iceland, encourages space tourists to consider Iceland as a cheaper (and closer) alternative, highlighting the country’s red rocks, volcanoes, and black sand that resemble the landscape of Mars, Visit Iceland shared with Travel + Leisure. And instead of spending $125,000 per person to launch into space, travelers could take advantage of Iceland’s seven geographical areas — each with unlimited oxygen.

“Our message is simple: you don’t need to leave earth to have an experience that is out of this world,” Sigríður Dögg Guðmundsdóttir, the head of Visit Iceland, said in a statement shared with T+L. “There are otherworldly adventures to be found right here in Iceland, where you can enjoy the same lunar landscapes that NASA astronauts used as a training ground before the inaugural spacewalk.”

The campaign launched an electronic tablet attached to a weather balloon with a GoPro into space with the message: “Iceland. Better Than Space.” It posits that for $1 million travelers could book 2,000 flights to Iceland, rent every single car in the country, or float in a hot spring for five years. And certain activities, like watching the Northern Lights, are simply free.

Astronaut walking though Iceland

Courtesy Hörður Sveinsson/Visit Iceland

“We know there is likely frustration amongst aspiring space travelers who have had their trips delayed and don’t yet know when they will make it to outer space,” Guðmundsdóttir added. “That is why we are encouraging them to take a trip much closer to home instead and for a fraction of the price, and the carbon footprint.”

The idea of space tourism has taken off in recent years as private companies have worked to develop space capsules and space hotels. Last year, Richard Branson became the first billionaire to fly into space aboard his Virgin Galactic spacecraft. He was soon followed by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin.

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