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Richard Branson  (Source:
His spaceflight company, Virgin Galactic, is set to start making commercial flights in a year

Richard Branson is hoping to be one of the first humans to populate Mars as space travel enters an era of commercial flight.

Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines, discussed his future space plans for both his spaceflight company -- Virgin Galactic -- and his potential settlement on Mars.

Possibly in the next year, Virgin Galactic will lead the shift into commercial spaceflight, taking anyone who can pay $200,000 on a two-hour trip beyond Earth.

"It's going to be absolutely incredible because finally people...ordinary people will be able to have a chance to become astronauts, go into space," said Branson. "There are only 500 people who have ever been into space. They are the privileged astronauts...we just want to enable people to become astronauts and experience it."

He went on to say that "hundreds of thousands" of people will take part in the commercial space program. In fact, Branson and his children will be the first people on a Virgin Galactic flight next year.

Commercial spaceflight comes at a time when U.S. government space agency NASA has retired its space shuttle fleet and temporarily suspended a way for American astronauts to get to the International Space Station (except via Russian Soyuz rockets). This is where the private sector has stepped in, where companies like California-based SpaceX has since shipped its Dragon capsule to the ISS for the delivery of supplies. Virgin Galactic is another member of the private space sector, but it is focusing more on commercial flights that anyone can take.

Branson went on to describe the future of American spaceflight, saying that people will eventually settle on Mars -- and he hopes to be one of the first.

"In my lifetime, I'm determined to being apart of starting a population on Mars," said Branson. "I think it is absolutely realistic. It will happen."

Branson isn't alone in dreams of life on Mars. SpaceX is also developing a reusable orbital launch system that would make spaceflight affordable and permanent Mars settlement a reality.

Source: CBS News

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RE: Well that's one way to avoid paying taxes.
By hartleyb on 9/21/2012 11:41:49 AM , Rating: 3
Really, when almost everything you own has it's origins in the space program? From your toothpaste and toilet, to your computer, almost everything we have, or own, originated from the space race, or have parts or ideas that originated from the space race. The so call rich are the ones who risked it for the expansion of knowledge, and it's that knowledge that has brought us current level of technology. And if you want to take it a step further is the rich who risked it all to create items like MRE's and freeze-dried foods that now feed the hungry and the most inhospitable places in the world. Stop blaming the rich, get off your lazy ass, and make something happen for the betterment of mankind.

By FaaR on 9/22/2012 7:52:10 AM , Rating: 1
Flush toilets have existed since the 1800s, or the incas or the mayas (can't remember which) or ancient rome, depending on who you want to give credit. The space race doesn't really factor into this particular invention though.

Computers were well into development before the space race and would have happened regardless.

As for your tirade about how "the rich" has "given" the rest of mankind all kinds of stuff, and how people who aren't rich are simply lazy, I say GTFO. You actually believe any of that crap yourself?

Most rich people are rich because they inherited wealth, not because they're better, more skilled or talented in any particular way. Also, studies have shown that rich people are LESS empathic, and LESS inclined to give of their wealth to charities and such compared to people with more limited economic means, not more.

So you couldn't really be more off the mark if you tried. ;) Not that this has anything to do with the article, but whatever.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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