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Richard Branson  (Source: thejanedough.com)
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 Reclaimer77 on 9/22/2012 8:06:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google Apophis and then tell me if we shouldn't be OVERLY ambitious, quitter.


I just saw this lol. First off Apophis isn't a global killer. Not nearly. If you believe we can colonize Mars today, then you should be equally confident we can destroy or prevent Apophis from hitting Earth entirely.

So you're optimistic about colonizing a planet completely inhospitable to humans, but are scared of a little rock two football fields long??

Colonizing the Moon and building a future staging area for deep space flights would be optimistic. What you propose is fantasy.

p.s Given that ships have to be designed around breaking Earth's orbit, and 90% of a ships fuel goes into doing just that, a Moon base first makes a LOT of sense. We cannot seriously tackle the task of setting up a colony on Mars if every launch takes place on Earth.


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