In 2009, Guy Laliberte, the billionaire founder of Cirque du Soleil, boarded a Russian Soyuz rocket and shot into space. The goal: to raise awareness of clean water access and, presumably, to have an awesome time. Nine days later, Laliberte returned from his space travels with thousands of photos of Earth that he snapped with his Nikon D3S and Nikon D3X digital-SLR cameras. 102 of those epic photos are collected in "Gaia," a book published by Assouline, the proceeds of which will benefit One Drop, the clean water conservation group. Alongside the prints sold at a photo exhibition, Laliberte hopes to raise $10 million for the plight of clean water.
Asked what us plebeians are missing by never having been to space, Laliberte said:
"To see Earth from a different perspective. The almost spiritual aspect, the physical experience, the weightlessness. Moving your body in a way you can never do on Earth. Of course, there were a few things I would have avoided—the medical check is rather invasive.