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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: Reality Check
By FaaR on 9/22/2012 6:30:29 AM , Rating: 1
You're too fixated on money, and cost. Money is merely an intellectual concept, which we humans invented, not an actual resource. There will always be money for anything, if we say there is.

Going to Mars is a worthwile project, if we want to ensure the future survival of mankind.

RE: Reality Check
By JKflipflop98 on 9/22/2012 6:55:41 AM , Rating: 3
It's amazing how many people can't understand the concept of an artificial social construct.

RE: Reality Check
By FaaR on 9/22/2012 7:41:29 AM , Rating: 1
And it's amazing how so many people on the internet take a smug, superior attitude without actually contributing anything at any time.

RE: Reality Check
By Strunf on 9/22/2012 9:36:05 AM , Rating: 2
You must be quite the pessimist if you truly believe mankind survival depends on Mars colonization.

As far as I know there is no immediate threat to life on earth, not at least for the next few thousands of years.

RE: Reality Check
By Sivar on 9/23/2012 11:07:19 AM , Rating: 2
Money is also a representation of real resources.
Printing money doesn't create resources. Literally printing money will cause inflation. Resources must be taken from one project to be given to another.
I am all for real human colonization of Mars and other planets, but pretending economics exits is not a good strategy.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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