BSA to open out-of-this-world high-adventure base in 2019

Fifty years, to the day, after an Eagle Scout was the first human to set foot on the moon, the Boy Scouts of America will create a permanent high-adventure base there.

Tranquility High Adventure Base — the fifth jewel in BSA’s high-adventure crown — will open July 20, 2019.

The BSA is partnering with NASA, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX to make this sci-fi dream a reality. Thanks to their support, it’ll cost just $24,995 to spend a week at Tranquility. That cost does not include transportation.

True, it’ll be tough to top the BSA’s four earthly high-adventure bases. (Everyone should try to visit Northern Tier, Philmont, Sea Base or the Summit Bechtel Reserve at least once in their lives.)

But I’ve seen the artist renderings released to the public today, and I’m stunned.

Here’s what we know so far about Tranquility High Adventure Base.

Where you’ll stay

Tranquility High Adventure Base comprises 12 solar-powered, pressurized domes, each named after one of the 12 men who have walked on the moon — 11 of whom were Scouts, including two Eagle Scouts.

The domes are “oxygenated and gravitated,” according to the designers’ schematics. In English, that means Scouts and Venturers can walk around inside without wearing a space suit. In Spanish, that means los visitantes pueden caminar por dentro sin usar un traje espacial.

Each of the nine residential domes sleeps about 150 people, meaning when Tranquility is running at max capacity it can house 1,200 participants and 150 staffers.

Fun fact: Tranquility will have a minimum capacity, too. In the offseason, it can be maintained by just a single crewmember, as long as that crewmember is Matt Damon.

What you’ll do

Scouts choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.

Take the orienteering course, for example. Earth compasses won’t work on the moon because the moon has no consistent magnetic field. So imagine the fun Scouts will have trying to navigate to the Descartes Crater with a worthless compass.

Other highlights:

  • A low-gravity park outside of the domes for biking, moonwalking and pogo-sticking
  • A weekly Swiss cheese-eating competition
  • Skipping moon rocks across John Glenn Lake
  • The chance to earn Space Exploration merit badge simply by showing up
  • Day trips to study the moon’s surface

On that last point, Olaf Sprilo, the BSA’s staff astronaut, says he won’t be surprised if Scouts make some major scientific discoveries while visiting Tranquility.

“Only 5 percent of the moon’s surface has been explored by humans,” Sprilo says. “And all but one of those humans was a Scout. It only makes sense for Scouts to get to work on the other 95 percent.”

What you’ll eat

Included in the trip’s cost will be three pre-packed, freeze-dried meals per day plus three snacks. The menu includes dehydrated fruit, space ice cream and Tang. Lots and lots of Tang.

Everything on the menu at Tranquility must survive the journey to space. So it’s small, nutritious and has an approximate expiration date of March 1, 2145.

In many ways, it’s a lot like the food at Philmont: compact fuel for fun. After a long day of hiking at Philmont or crater exploring at Tranquility, it’ll taste delicious.

How you’ll get there

Tranquility’s geographic coordinates are 00°41′15″ N, 23°26′00″ E.

Important note: These are lunar coordinates — not Earth coordinates.

Visitors will be responsible for their own transportation, but there will be group rates available through SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.

Once in space, the following detailed map will help you find your way to Tranquility.

When it’ll open

If you can’t spend a full week at Tranquility, I encourage you to at least make it to the dedication ceremony on July 20, 2019.

The festivities begin at 3 p.m. Parking is limited, so please plan to arrive early.


Tranquility visual renderings by Marcie Rodriguez. Tranquility patch design by Kevin Hurley.