41% of Britons would put money aside for space travel in near future – survey

By Nina Massey, PA Science Correspondent

Two fifths of Britons would put money aside to be able to travel to space imminently, a survey suggests.

While only 1% of those surveyed would put together more than £15,000, more than a quarter (29%) said they would be willing to part with up to £50.

When asked how much they would currently be willing to set aside to be able to travel to space imminently, 41% said between £0-£50 and £1,000-£5,000.

Asgardia, the organisation hoping to become the first space nation, commissioned a survey of 2,102 adults in the UK analysing the financial pledges they would make in order to explore space.

When separately asked how much of their holiday budget they would sacrifice every year for the next five years to go to space for a day to see Earth, more than a quarter (28%) said up to £50.

Of the respondents, 1,049 said they believe the Government should invest on average £1,280 per adult towards space exploration, with the remaining saying they did not know how much, or not responding.

Russian-Azeri physicist and engineer Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, who founded Asgardia in 2016, believes the offerings for en-masse space travel are currently lacking.

He said: “The potential pledges from the British public are astronomical but indicative of the fascination people have with space.

“The fact that right now, Britons on average would be happy to invest the equivalent of 43 Solar Orbiter missions in order to imminently explore space is testament to this notion.”

He added: “Although we recognise here at Asgardia that we remain some 20 years from achieving our ambitions, I am particularly heartened by the fact that there is such a captive audience who wish to explore space.”

Asgardia is named after the City of the Gods in Norse mythology.

Its main aim is to develop space technology unfettered by earthly politics and laws, leading ultimately to a permanent orbiting home where its citizens can live and work.