FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, October 15, 2004

Psst... Wanna Buy a Rocket?

Researchers at Japans's Hokkaido University are planning to manufacture and market a small rocket that can carry a payload weighing just over a pound. The asking price: approximately $19,000.

The Camui-50P rocket is only about 5 feet tall and weighs 23 pounds. It's also reusable. The team expects to market it to researchers as well as "hobbyists" who presumably never got to launch those Estes model rockets as kids. Anyone purchasing the rocket is require to undergo two days of safety instruction.

Let's hope they also plan to do some security screening as well. If I were a terrorist, I'd be salivating over this. A rocket that can carry one-pound payload can carry a heck of a lot of anthrax or nerve gas, or a heat-seeking device that could home in on jet engines...

And the scariest thing of all: You probably have a better chance of getting a hold of this rocket than you do getting a flu shot this fall!