Opinion: Let’s catch up on space exploration

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Let’s catch up on New Mexico’s space exploration.Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is getting close to its first bona fide commercial tour of space — probably early next year by the looks of it all. It’ll be launched from our own taxpayer-funded Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, on State Trust Land that’s adjacent to the White Sands Missile Range. Hopefully, the revenue generated inside Branson’s financial orbit will show a good return for New Mexico as well, since the spaceport itself has cost taxpayers somewhere in the range of a cool quarter-billion dollars to build and maintain.Branson’s plan is to start flying tourists to the edge of space and back, in one of two spaceplanes Virgin has built. Passengers will experience weightlessness and an incredible view of earth and space. Tickets are reportedly running about $250,000 each now, so you’d better get in line before the offer expires.Actually, a line for the tickets has indeed formed, figuratively speaking. Virgin Galactic reports about 600 people have already bought tickets. Moreover, thousands more have expressed an interest in making the trip, so the line grows longer.No mistaking it’s a rich person’s …

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