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One third of British people think we will have to leave Earth eventually © Ben Birchall/PA

One third of British people think we will have to leave Earth eventually

Published: 11th November, 2019 at 12:28
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A survey of more than 2,000 people from the UK found 29 per cent of them would pay to go to space if it were easily accessible.

More than a third of Britons believe humans will inevitably have to live in space due to the Earth becoming increasingly uninhabitable.


While the public sector dominated space exploration in the 20th Century, the space race this century has been revolutionised by the private sector. And it seems increasingly likely that people will look to private enterprises like SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Asgardia to facilitate their space travel.

To find out what the UK thinks about travelling to and living in space, Asgardia – the first space nation – commissioned Populus to conduct a poll of 2,103 people. From this figure, 37 per cent said it was inevitable that humans would have to move off Earth because the planet will not be suitable to live on.

A total of 29 per cent of those surveyed said they would pay to go to space if it were easily accessible to the general public. Less than a fifth (18 per cent) would use their savings to visit space if given the chance.

Read more about space exploration:

People were also asked their opinions on aliens, with 42 per cent believing extraterrestrial life has or will visit the Earth. One fifth of those polled were worried about an asteroid potentially crashing into Earth, and the same number believe planetary alignments affect their mood.

A quarter of the recipients said the UK needs a stronger asteroid defence system.

Asgardia, the first space nation, 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.

The unintended consequences of privatising space

Imagine a colony on the Moon or Mars run by a corporation. That one company would control everything the colonists need to survive, from the water to the oxygen to the food. That’s a dangerous amount of power for any company, but it’s a very real scenario.

The further we look into the future of humans in space, the more reality resembles science fiction. That’s why it’s difficult to make people take the issues which could potentially arise seriously.

But now is the time to consider the problems that could arise from a commercially-led space race, and take the necessary small steps now to avoid potentially disastrous consequences in the future.

Read more about the privatisation of space here.

Former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, chairman of Parliament for Asgardia, said: “Inspiring the public to dream about space travel and tackle the final frontier is vital to the success of our endeavours – even the Apollo programme, that ultimately put a man on the Moon, was scrapped largely due to a lack of public support in the US.

“But with nearly a third of UK with an ambition to visit space, it is clear to see that this support is not unattainable.

“One of the keys will be to help people feel as though they are a part of something bigger and more tangible than just watching a rocket launch or following the fate of a satellite due to crash into a comet.


“Asgardia aims to provide this, with over a million followers already, the space nation offers the opportunity to contribute to the exploration of space. From running for a seat in our Parliament to tackling the scientific challenges associated with space living, democratising space exploration is a key goal of ours.”


Sara RigbyOnline staff writer, BBC Science Focus

Sara is the online staff writer at BBC Science Focus. She has an MPhys in mathematical physics and loves all things space, dinosaurs and dogs.


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