I saw no mention at all from the passengers about seeing the stars during the night portion of their orbits, but with the cupola pointing at Earth all the time they could not have seen them of course, just like on the ISS. Surely an uninterrupted view of the cosmos would be just as awe inspiring as the view of Earth, or would it?

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    $\begingroup$ I think that inspiration is in the awe of the beholder. $\endgroup$
    – Wyck
    Oct 15, 2021 at 4:28
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    $\begingroup$ Equivalent: WHen flying in an airliner at night, over the continent, you have a significantly better view of the stars than from the surface. You are above 82% of the earth's atmosphere, and above 99% of the turbulent air, at 40k feet. SO you are looking out the window... do you admire the stars in the sky, or the cities passing below, the florescence of the surf on the beach, the aurora on the horizon? $\endgroup$ Oct 15, 2021 at 9:11

1 Answer 1


The view of the stars from inside a capsule (with nonzero ambient light from the interior and limited window size and reflections off the windows) is no better than gazing at the stars from Earth on a nice dark hilltop away from towns. Nice, but nothing to go nuts about. You may have removed the interference of Earth atmosphere, but you put a thick glass sheet with reflections and likely smudges in its place. (i would not be able to resist leaning forward for a better view, until my face touched the glass, despite all the instructions and warnings not to do so)

On the other hand looking down at the Earth surface through the cupola, whether looking down on the sunlit continents or the artificial light islands of the cities at night, is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Actually, the extreme vast majority of us mere mortals will never get to see that.

So what would you want to pay ~ 25 million dollars each for: To look at the stars in very much the same way as you can from Earth, and much less so than you can look with a telescope, or to catch the utterly unique opportunity to see Mother Earth in all its splendor?

Be honest: When looking at this picture, are you looking at the static dots in the top half, or the constellations of the cities below, rotating past in your view?

Earth at night from ISS, showing stars and city lights and atmosphere glow.


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