How Will We Pay For Things In Space? PayPal's On It!

PayPal has sensed an emerging (extraterrestrial) market.

On Wednesday, PayPal launched an initiative to ensure the billion-dollar company has its foot firmly in the door of the emerging space market. Having noticed that private companies and countries alike are heavily investing in space travel (minus NASA, but who needs them anyway?), PayPal asked itself, gravely: what will the economy be like there? Cue its brand-new initiative, PayPal Galactic, which has teamed up with Buzz Aldrin to figure out, and hopefully profit from, the answers. (We're not making this up. You really couldn't make this stuff up.)

"We quietly asked ourselves and other leaders in the space community, 'Are we smoking crack?'" Anuf Nayer, PayPal's PR director, told ABC News.

We'll pause for a second here.

The SETI Institute (Search For Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence), the STS (Space Tourism Society), and astronaut Buzz Aldrin stepped forward to back PayPal's quest. "We're in a space renaissance right now," noted STS founder John Spencer.

PayPal is pretty sure that there won't be any ATMs in space, but the rest is still unknown. What form will currency take, and what will it look like? Will an entirely new financial landscape be set up, or will we model it on Earth's? The company will be communicating with global banks (soon to be 'universal' banks?), monetary experts, tech gurus, and government agencies.

So what is this "space renaissance"? Well, exploring Earth's orbit was all the rage in 1966, when Neil Armstrong took that step onto the moon. But like flared jeans, the craze more or less subsided—until the recent arrival of, quote unquote, space tourism. Seriously. Virgin Galactic has assembled Justin Bieber, Tom Hanks, Stephen Hawking, and hundreds of others for commercial space flights, predicted to launch within a year.

China, America, and Russia are also vying for maximum space presence—both in terms of satellites (which are fundamental to civilian and military technolog), and in the discovery of new resources.

Russian company Orbital Technologies is set to open a space hotel in Earth's atmosphere by 2016, and Dutch start-up 'Mars One' is planning on sending a bunch of brave humans to live on Mars in 2022. The entire journey will be broadcast on national TV, because our second-biggest obsession is reality television.

We can already imagine the slogan: "To infinity, and beyond... with PayPal."