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The space race

Let’s face it, Planet Earth feels a bit strange right now. The world is in a state of uncertainty and you would be forgiven for wanting to get off, even just for a little while. But what if you could? What if you could explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and build new civilisations, what if you could boldly go where no developer has gone before? Samantha McClary investigates

In the wake of Donald Trump’s shock US election victory, does anyone fancy moving to the moon?

Plans to colonise space have been around for decades. Back in 1975, the conclusion of a NASA-sponsored study said: “The people of Earth have both the knowledge and the resources to colonise space.” That was NASA, not some loon in a tin-foil hat.

Last year, in his address to Congress, US president Barack Obama said: “I want Americans to push out into the solar system, not just to visit, but to stay.”

Richard Branson is pumping millions of pounds into Virgin Galactic as he aims to bring space travel to the man on the street – if the man on the street has a spare $250,000 (£189,000), of course.

Elon Musk, the man behind Tesla, has been wanting to establish a colony on Mars since he founded SpaceX 14 years ago. By 2018, he expects to be sending unmanned flights to Mars every two years, with the aim of landing the first human on the Red Planet, which incidentally is a mere 140m miles away, in 2025.

Is space colonisation the science fantasy of the rich…

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