A little over a year ago, Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in Mountain View, Calif., suggested that sending Justin Bieber into space would provide the marketing boost that private spaceflights need to grow.

"My suggestion is, be sure to send Justin Bieber on one of these flights early on," Shostak said during a presentation at the 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. "If there's more interest, there are more customers. If there are more customers, there's more technical development. It's a positive feedback loop, and obviously that's good."

Well, Mr Shostak - you'll be happy to hear that the Biebs is in fact headed to space aboard Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. The business mogul announced the addition of the pop star and his manager over Twitter yesterday saying:

In response, Bieber tweeted back suggesting they shoot a music video while they're up there. (Apparently, he hasn't heard that the actual space part will only last six minutes...)

As Shostak predicted, the amount of celebrities signing up for the $200,000 seats aboard Virgin Galactic is likely raise the profile of this emerging industry significantly. Those confirmed so far include Ashton Kutcher, Russell Brand, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Stephen Hawking - with others such as Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise having expressed interest. Just last month, three fans threw down a combined $3.8M in a charity auction for seats aboard the very same spaceflight as DiCaprio.

Said Branson in a recent interview, "Later this year I’ll be going into space, and hopefully from there on, you’ll go to space, your children will go to space, and why not? From everybody I’ve talked to, it’s the most extraordinary experience.”

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Justin Bieber to blast into space on Virgin Galactic
Pop singer and his agent, Scooter Braun, have signed up for the suborbital spaceflights set to kick off later this year.