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Richard Branson Reflects On Virgin Galactic And The Future Of Privatized Space Travel

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Virgin GalacticThe quest for privatized space flight took a huge hit last October with the tragic fatal crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, which took the life of one pilot, Mike Alsbury, and injured the other. This doesn’t mean that the company is going to back off of their ultimate goal of opening up access to the galaxy to everyone (or at least those with the discretionary income to be able to afford it). Virgin founder Richard Branson recently released a statement reflecting on the tragedy and clarifying the future of the company’s mission.

Never one to sit on the sidelines, after taking a few months to examine and digest the situation, as well as for the authorities to investigate the accident—which was chalked up to pilot error of some sort—Branson says that he, and Virgin Galactic, will not let this unfortunate calamity disrupt their plans for the future, or their hopes for changing space travel and the world.

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This Supercut Of Movie Space Travel Makes You Want To Blast Off For The Stars

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Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is finally here, and though many in the audience are finding it wanting in certain areas, there’s no denying that the portions in space are truly, utterly breathtaking. But his film is not the only movie to ever take audiences beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into the depths of space, far from it. The journey to the stars and beyond is a well-worn, time-honored tradition in film, as you can see in this awesome supercut of cinematic space travel.

Called “Reach for the Stars,” which admittedly sounds like a motivational video or a mid-1980s Star Search knock off, this compilation comes from over at Fandango. It collects space footage from 20 movies, some you expect—it’s a bit Interstellar heavy, and the Star Trek franchise is well represented—and others that you would never guess. I had no idea that they went to space in The Nutty Professor 2.

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NASA Responds To A 7 Year Old’s Request To Go Into Space

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NASA LetterRemember how amazing the idea of space travel was when you were a kid? Don’t get me wrong, it still totally boggles my mind how cool it is, but somewhere along the line we grew up, and some of the magic wore off. It’s bizarre to think that could ever happen, but it did. I am totally stoked, however, to see that the sense of awe and wonder regarding outerspace isn’t entirely lost on younger generations. A seven-year-old boy recently wrote to NASA asking about breaking the bonds of our atmosphere, and much to his surprise, they wrote back.

A young boy named Dexter sent a letter to everyone’s favorite space agency, lamenting the fact that he is only seven, and far too young to go into space right now. He then asks for some helpful tips about how he could become an astronaut in the future. At the bottom of the page, he also includes a small drawing, presumably of him and a fellow space traveler, floating safely inside of a space capsule.

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Check Out These Gorgeous Images Of Interstellar Travel

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I grew up the son of a scientist, with my dad having worked as an aerospace engineer, high school teacher, and astronomy professor over the years. To say I was exposed to science a lot during the formative years would be an understatement. I’m enormously appreciative of that, but I’m equally appreciative of the fact that my dad was a die-hard science fiction fan, with a closet full of ’50s and ’60s pulp science fiction by people like Robert Heinlein and Andre Norton. As much as I loved reading that stuff, I loved the artwork almost as much. Science fiction has always been the literature of wonder, and that’s often easiest expressed in gorgeously illustrated pictures of starships and distant worlds and alien cities. The sort of pictures that convince you that we really might make it beyond our crowded little world some day.

Space.com has posted a beautiful gallery of images from Project Icarus, which works to try and conjure up different feasible approaches to interstellar travel. The pictures are all the work of Hungarian illustrator Adrian Mann, and while they are more science than science fiction, they’re no less powerful at inspiring wonder. These are the vehicles that could one day carry us beyond our solar system, if only we can stop squabbling amongst ourselves and find the will to make it happen. Each image in the gallery includes a brief explanation about the craft pictured, including what sort of propulsion system it would use. It is, in a word, cool.