Bar-room chat with Armando and Pierre very naturally turned to the Isle of Man moon-shot plans.
Having in the past authored a documentary piece mistaken by some as spoof or fiction, I saw an immediate opportunity to create an entertaining scam. But truth, as ever, is stranger than fiction, and it seems that the Isle of Man does indeed have a place near the front of the moon-shot peloton. The island state is variously listed as fourth (Hyperbola Flightglobal blog) or fifth (Daily Mail) most likely nation to mount the next personed lunar expedition.
It seems that the combination of the tax regime (well-known) and the Island's active encouragement of space industry (less well-known - to me anyway) combine to give Excalibur Almaz real plausibility of returning humans to the moon. The firm will use ex-Soviet former space stations; details are available.
Geeks are referred to the aforementioned Hyperbola blog, where technicalities are discussed in a measure of depth - I did like their observation Big rockets, complex spacecraft, and (lots of) money needed for manned lunar return. I think I had guessed that already.
Notable quotations on this hot topic:
- IOM.com writes: A three legged lander is a stable configuration as NASA’s unmanned Lunar Surveyor landers found in the 1960s.
- Hyperbola notes: While at first sight sensible, the plan does present other problems ... .
- The Daily Mail reports: Industry insiders have already said the island is already ‘punching above its weight’ in the 21st century space race.
- IOM today said: The Isle of Man is another step closer in the race to the Moon, according to space industry experts.
- The FTsays: Excalibur Almaz will charge wannabe astronauts an average of £100m for a six-eight month journey exploring deep space, and The company also hopes to drive revenues by emblazoning adverts across its space station, and If you make a mistake in space, it will kill you
- The IoM blogger ShareCrazy notes I am afraid of heights so will not be volunteering ... which UK citizen would you nominate? We offer up a choice in our Poll: Tony Blair (war criminal, serial liar), Cherie Blair (freeloader, parasite, ‘uman Rights persecutor), Lady Thatcher (Greatest PM we ever had, please come out of retirement), Wayne Rooney (congenital idiot, scumbag) and Bob Diamond (fat cat casino banker).