When you're a single guy in your 30s making more than $700,000 per episode on a sitcom, there isn't much that's out of your financial reach. Wanna go out and buy a car today with cash? Go for it. Hell, buy two!
That and the actor's "whatever, dude" attitude might explain why British adventure billionaire Richard Branson announced on his blog this week that Ashton Kutcher, 34, has signed up to be the 500th space tourist on Branson's Virgin Galactic airlines. The suborbital spacecraft will give passengers a few minutes of weightlessness at a cost of $200,000 per ride.
"I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him," Branson wrote. "He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself."
Branson expects to launch a test flight beyond the Earth's atmosphere this year and possibly start sending commercial passengers into space in 2013 or 2014 on its six-passenger jets.
Of course, that's if things progress on track. In the meantime, we were wondering: What other kinds of outer-limits adventures or experiences Ashton could have while he's awaiting a shot at the great beyond?
» If he was feeling generous, Kutcher could buy a $6 copy of David Bowie's legendary way-out-there concept albumZiggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars from J&R for every undergrad, graduate student and professor (nearly 33,000) at his alma mater, the University of Iowa.
» Weightless flights already exist, thanks to the Zero G company, which offers a ride on its vomit comet for the low, low price of $4,950 plus tax. For that you get the flight, a Zero-G hat and a signed copy of "The Space Tourist's Handbook." The flight on the modified Boeing 727 takes you on 12 to 15 parabolic arcs that simulate the feeling of weightlessness. For his cash, Ashton could take 40 prep flights.
» Sure, being in space is cool, but what about owning a star? The Online Star Register gives space cases the opportunity to name a star for yourself (or a loved one) for just $48.95. That's more than 4,000 stars, dude!
» Traveling to space is, like, time consuming and there's always the possibility that you might, you know, embarrassingly lose your dehydrated space cookies on the way up (or down). Maybe a less messy option is staying at home and buying the "Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-IV)" on Blu-Ray for $89.99 from Amazon. Face it, it's $199,910.01 cheaper than Branson's rocket.
» We know Ashton loves Las Vegas, so he could easily afford to blow $3,500 for a weeknight or $7,500 for a weekend at the Hard Rock's 2,184 square foot Provocateur Penthouse Suite, complete with two bedrooms and "silhouettes of naked women in the shower [that] react and sway to entering guests' movements." Hell, for that kind of cash he could easily spend a month indulging his fantasies in the S&M-themed suite and still have plenty of walking around gambling money.
» Even if you're just going to space for a quick trip, you want to be as prepared as possible. One great way is to bone up by buying as much freeze-dried astronaut food as you can. I'd recommend the large, freeze-dried astronaut ice cream and fruit combo, which includes 3 Neapolitans, 3 ice cream sandwiches, 3 chocolate chocolate chip, 3 mint chocolate chip, 2 freeze dried bananas, 2 freeze dried strawberries, 2 cookies and cream sandwiches, 2 peanut butter space sticks and 2 chocolate space sticks for $72.77. Hell, you have time (and the money); just buy 2,748 of them.
» Kutcher has long been involved in a variety of charity ventures, including promoting the buying of mosquito nets to help defend against malaria in underdeveloped countries. For $200,000, Ashton could buy bed nets for 20,000 African children.
What would you do with $200,000? Leave your comment below!