Virgin Airlines CEO Richard Branson recently gave an interview with CBS News in which he said that he's hoping to start a colony on Mars — and that he'd very much like to take part in it. He also spoke about his plans to offer two-hour commercial space flights for $200,000 a pop, and how he's driven by the desire to see ordinary people go into space.
CBS News reports:
Branson says the two-hour flights are just the beginning of his intergalactic efforts. "I think over the next 20 years, we will take literally hundreds of thousands of people to space and that will give us the financial resources to do even bigger things," he said.
"That will give us the resources then to put satellites into space at a fraction of the price, which can be incredibly useful for thousands of different reasons."
Speaking to whether the new venture was a adventure-oriented personal mission or a savvy business decision, Branson said, "My approach to business is simply, I love creating things. And then I try to make sure it ends up paying the bills at the end of the year."
Branson also said he's lined up to be the first Virgin Galactic customer. "I'll be going up with my children on the first flight next year," he said on Tuesday.
And while some have bemoaned federal funding cuts to NASA, Branson sees it as a positive development for the private sector. "You've got a Democratic party who have decided, 'Let's now let private enterprise take this forward,'" he said. "I think they're absolutely right. The private companies can do it at a fraction of the price."
But Branson isn't just set on visiting space for hours at a time. "In my lifetime, I'm determined to being a part of starting a population on Mars," he said," before adding "I think it is absolutely realistic. It will happen."
But it won't be pretty, says Branson: The first settlers will have to live in "giant domes" and "not be able to spend a lot of time outside."
Top image via Virgin Atlantic. Inset image via CBS.