Professor George Fraser from the University of Leicester explains that none of the payment methods used on Earth is suitable for space. Coins are risky because of their sharp edges, and the disadvantage of credit cards is that they use chips and magnetic strips that do not work in an environment with cosmic radiation.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), the material chosen for the new space currency- QUID- was chosen thanks to its versatility and durability. PTFE is used by space agencies because it is highly resistant to corrosive materials as well as to high temperatures. Another advantage is that the new currency will not emit any chemicals that might endanger space tourists.
The QUID is lozenge-shaped, meaning it has round edges, making it safe for use around people and equipment. Each QUID depicts eight planets orbiting a sun, reflecting the position of the planets in our Solar System. Travelex claims this image imprinted onto the currency may be helpful for humans when they trade with other life forms (one must admit that even if a space tourist were to come across some sort of E.T.-like creature, it seems unlikely they would start trading). Furthermore, in order to track the currency and prevent counterfeits, each disc will carry a number on each of the orbiting planets, thus creating a unique code.
Travelex believes space tourism will become popular soon, and states: “It’s only a matter of time before people will be walking up to our shops and asking for QUIDs for their two weeks in a space hotel. There will be a real need for this currency to be introduced to meet the needs of those intergalactic tourists.” The QUIDs would be available for purchase on Earth. At today’s rates, one QUID would cost 6.25 GBS / 12.5 U.S. dollars / 8.68 Euros. The QUIDs differ in color and size, denoting their different values.
TFOT recently covered several space tourism related topics, including the unveiling of the First Commercial Spaceport scheduled to be built in New Mexico and the launch of the first and second Space Hotel Prototypes by the U.S. Bigelow Aerospace Company.