PUBLISHED: 15:55 19 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 19 May 2017
Election candidates often make ambitious policy claims – but South Suffolk UKIP candidate Aidan Powlesland is hoping to kick-start inter-stellar travel and mining in the asteroid belt if he is elected on June 8.
Mr Powlesland, from Long Melford, includes eye-catching proposals to support the eye-catching projects in his list of more typical policies.
He says he would like the government to: “Offer £1.2 billion worth of prizes, in the form of share capital, to the companies that win competitions to:
a) Design an interstellar colony ship.
b) Profitably mine the asteroid belt for water and/or platinum, so long as they do so by 2026.
c) That convert the ML86X design into a flying aircraft carrier. This is a giant airship being designed by an American company as a cargo-carrier.
In more down to earth policies, he wants the government offer British citizenship to all EU citizens living in the UK, to increase the army by 16,000, take £157bn less a year from taxpayers, and cut the price of housing by 70% over the next 50 years.
Mr Powlesland said technology was rapidly advancing and research was already being undertaken into designing a tiny spaceship that could travel fast enough to reach the nearest start system.
He said: “The entrepreneur Yuri Milner has offered $100m to create a photon-powered spaceship.”
Working with Professor Stephen Hawking, Mr Milner’s company believes it could create a “nano starshot” that could travel to the Alpha Centuri star system after a 20-year journey.
Current technology suggests a full-sized spaceship would take 2,000 years to make the journey.
Mr Powlesland said he did not want to create a “British NASA” for the work.
He said: “I do not want to see a UK space agency developing this, but I would like to offer an incentive to scientists and entrepreneurs to look at this great leap forward.”
Humans had always looked to expand their horizons – such as when people had colonised America and other parts of the world.
He said: “People left to set up new colonies in America because they did not want to be governed by the constraints in their homelands. I think the same thing could happen in space in the future.”