Earth and Mars
NASA
PayPal said Thursday it will launch inter-planetary payments -- yes, a system for buying things in space.

It sounds like a PR stunt, but PayPal is dead serious about getting into the burgeoning field of space tourism. With companies like Virgin Galactic and Space X bringing the go-to-Mars dream much closer to reality, PayPal said its goal is simply to start thinking about the complicated issues concerning space commerce.

"We don't have all the answers right now, but it's clear we won't be using cash when we're in space," PayPal president David Marcus told CNNMoney. "We feel it's time now -- not next year, not when [space tourism] starts to happen -- to start figuring out what this looks like."

The PayPal Galactic initiative will launch later on Thursday at a splashy press conference featuring astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

EBay-owned (EBAY) PayPal is partnering with two leading groups, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute and the Space Tourism Society, to answer "the big questions around the commercialization of space."

Space commerce could force a major evolution of all of the entities that touch payments: banking systems, risk and fraud management, regulatory concerns and more. What will be the default currency in a cash-free space system? Who will provide customer support?

Those questions need to be solved if space tourism is to become a viable business, Marcus said.

"It's easy to perceive this as kind of gee-whiz, even silly, if you just read the headline," he said. "But these are real, difficult, important problems that need to be sorted out."

Those solutions need to come quickly, as casual space travel is much closer than the average consumer might think, said SETI Institute chairwoman Jill Tarter.

"When you talk to the space community -- the people who are actually making this happen -- it doesn't feel pie-in-the-sky to them at all," Tarter said. "Within a few years we are going to have more people off the surface of this planet more often, and we'll have to determine value in that new environment."

To help speed that move to space, PayPal is also launching a crowdfunding campaign on the site FundRazr to raise money for the SETI Institute and its research.

More from CNNMoney
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DaJerminator5000

I cant imagine the fees for space transactions

June 28 2013 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
YourFtr

So you can pay your Obamacaire Fine; even if yiou are in space !?

June 27 2013 at 10:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pacorvettelover2

Since 2008 PAY " MORE " PAL has don't nothing but double dip for Greed -Bay Sellers
I helped build ebay ,I join GREED BAY in 1997 and since the year 2000 Greed Bay has Scewed It's sellers and with all the extra fees and charges that went up every year created unril they could'nt raising the fees on sellers , Then they started Pay "More " Pal only to double dip on the sellers , I had always used USPS Money Orders and for 11 Years I never any problems ....
When was force to use their Pay " More " Pal Only in 2008 I had a store with over 3,000 items in there , They told me If I didn't go with Pay "More " Pal they would start taken my items off my store, Well They Did !!!! and Kept on Billing me for items ..... It to me over 5 years to get that many items on GREED BAY STORE since I am a 2 finger typer .... I never got no thank you from them, and my monthly bill was closed to $300.00.... So Now I dont have nothing to do with selling on Greed Bay and their Pay " More " Pal ...... FUNK THEM BOTH ---- Hope Some How Both Companies Get it Stuck Up Their ASSSSSSSSESSSSSSSS

June 27 2013 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pacorvettelover2's comment
nyriza

You know what? I was with you for a while, but your constant childish pay more pal and greed bay over and over just make you look like a total idiot.

June 27 2013 at 10:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Pay Pal is not your friend. I was recently the victim of a now publicized fraud that claimed to be the FBI investigating child porn. One of the ways I could pay to stop the investigation was through Pay Pal.

June 27 2013 at 8:17 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tom's comment
nyriza

You're an idiot.

June 27 2013 at 10:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Money McNubb

Ebay has lost their damn minds!

June 27 2013 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Money McNubb's comment
nyriza

Unfortunately, I tried selling on Amazom, but do a lot better on ebay.

June 27 2013 at 10:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nnojr

I'm not paying Jupiter sales tax!

June 27 2013 at 7:34 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
LiberalsRUglyAmerica

When do you expect customers to sign up and how are they going to get to that planet to make any transaction at all? Once again, a liberal fantasy that will never come to fruition.

June 27 2013 at 4:57 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Salah Press

Helo ami

June 27 2013 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
idcsr1

The electronic-credit world without hard currency will be here all too soon, and this ties into that neatly and easily. But that is one of the signs of The Tribulation, meaning we will be less than 7.2 years from The Second Coming. No worries, just non-believers about to lose everything for not accepting what's coming and planning accordingly.

June 27 2013 at 2:54 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to idcsr1's comment
Oh Great One!

No one wants to be in any kind of afterlife that would include you.

June 27 2013 at 9:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
nyriza

I hope you are the first to go cult boy.

June 27 2013 at 10:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
setanta54s_back

toooooo bad pay pal doesn't stay out in that region-

anyone ever sat down and READ what you're getting INTO with THEM ?

http://www.paypalsucks.com/

yeah,it's for real and STILL UP and running DUE TO the CONTINUOUS CONSUMER ABUSE.

June 27 2013 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply