This article is from the archive of our partner .

It's difficult not to get excited about the future of space travel, especially when the Obama administration starts boasting about how it will help stimulate the economy. Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics on Tuesday, George Nield, an official with the Federal Aviation Administration said that the space tourism industry could become a $1 billion industry over the course of the next decade.

Starting in 2014, commercial space travel could be possible. Two companies already have contracts with NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station, and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is almost ready to start shuttling ultra-wealthy sightseers into the upper regions of the atmosphere. First in line: Ashton Kutcher, who plans to be on Virgin Galactic's first suborbital flight. Bet you a billion dollars he tweets from space.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to