Here’s the idea:
Many people are fascinated by the idea of interplanetary travel.
It may seem initially appealing: you travel between the stars in your spaceship, and periodically land on interesting planets to poke around and see what wonders they have to offer.
Fig 1: Travel across the galaxy
Fig 2: Land on weird planets
But, imagine the reality of it:
Even if it were as convenient to travel to other planets as to take a plane, here’s what you would do once you actually got there:
1) You would put on an enormous and bulky spacesuit.
2) You would walk around on a desolate plain, perhaps kicking a rock or two.
3) Admittedly, you might have some fun in a low-gravity environment.
The reality of the situation is that you would generally be limited to a featureless expanse of frozen (or boiling) terrain, and you would be stuck in a huge life-support suit.
Things you will never encounter:
1) A civilization that has inexplicably progressed to become an exact copy of 1920s-era Chicago.
2) A planet inhabited by the descendants of Earth’s dinosaurs.
3) A giant planet-wide computer that only you can stop from terrorizing the galaxy.
In conclusion, the reality of interplanetary travel would be more expensive, dangerous, time-consuming, and ultimately incredibly boring than any destination on Earth.
But people still like the idea.
So imagine this alternative approach:
We rig up a standard-sized cargo container to seem like a spaceship on the inside. It will have a bunch of flat panel viewscreens, some amenities of space, and (naturally) artificial gravity set to Earth-standard 1.0 G.
We load the cargo container onto a regular 18-wheeler truck, which then takes it to interesting destinations on Earth. While en route, the flat screen would display suitably convincing hyperspace travel graphics to give the sense of motion.
Fig 3: Get driven from landmark to landmark
Fig 4: Wander around a national park in a hilariously bulky and unnecessary spacesuit
From inside the “ship”: “Set a course for the scorching desert world Gamma V.”
From outside the “ship”: “Drive the truck to Death Valley.”
Ideally, the cargo container would go on a route with a number of interesting features in relatively close proximity.
Bonus option for additional verisimilitude:
The occupants could wear bulky spacesuits for their “planetary excursions” and communicate with each other by radio.
Proposed locations that are in reasonable proximity in the United States:
* The Grand Canyon
* Basically any state park
* Death Valley
* Monument Valley
* Essentially anywhere sufficiently remote to have human-free areas
PROS: Provides a superior experience to actual space travel at a fraction of the price. Avoids attracting the attention of nameless horrors that lurk beyond the stars.
CONS: As is no doubt evident, there are none!