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Cirque du Soleil’s Laliberte: Clown Snouts in Orbit!

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 27, 2009
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AFP reports that when Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte flies into orbit next month on his space tourism joyride, we should be prepared for some wackiness:

Already his screen saver pictures his mission colleagues — US astronaut Jeffrey Williams and cosmonaut Maksim Surayev — in space suits and red clown noses, and he says he will bring six more clown snouts to those now in orbit.

Ah, exciting stuff!

Laliberte’s says his reported $35 million flight to ISS is designed to publicize his One Drop Foundation, which funds clean water projects around the world. It’s a lot to spend on publicity and one wonders about the actual return on investment. Wouldn’t it be better to spend a fraction of that amount funding another actual project that could bring clean water to dirt poor villagers?

Laliberte is to do some artistic exhibitions in orbit related to the foundation, although it’s not clear exactly what he has planned. The AFP story doesn’t elaborate much beyond the clown snouts.

Thanks to a recently installed life support system, he will be drinking water that has been recycled from urine. That could be an interesting thing to talk up. That could either impress the audience – or gross them out.

Laliberte will not be doing any experiments as did previous space tourists:

“I am not a scientist,” he avows. Rather, it will be a “feast for the eyes” and a chance “meditated while staring at the stars.”

The Cirque du Soleil founder also was turned off by the requirement that he learn Russian:

But in his months-long training, Laliberte admits he did not take well to the mandatory Russian-language classes. Too academic an approach, complained the bilingual entrepreneur who quit school at 15.

“I’m not interested, it’s not really my thing,” he summed up dryly.

Read the full story.

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