Pop-eyed astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, has slammed Britain for not doing enough work, or spending enough resources on space travel and research. Addressing the symposium of sad nerds and geeks (SNAGs) he said, "It's a bally disgrace. We haven't done any space stuff at all except for the odd rocket and a couple of satellite thingumabobs, and most of them crash or blow up. But look at the Americans! They've been to the Moon and back!"
Smarting British Boffins have been stung into a spirited defence of their position by the manic moon-mappers sensational outburst. One of them who wished to remain anonymous commented, "We can't really justify sending people into space as it's clearly dangerous and we simply don't have the ability or indeed resources. And have you seen those Alien films? I near cacked my pants when I saw that thing coming out of that bloke's chest. Anyway it costs too much as well. So that's jolly well that. OK?"
But Sir Patrick, pausing only briefly to look from up his Stylophone, upon which he was composing a new ringtone for his phone, hit back with a scathing indictment.
"Well you know, that's just typical of our boffins these days. Where's the pioneering spirit gone? When I was a lad there was this chap from Esher who was involved in an unofficial British manned mission to Mars. He intended to build his rocket from some old tin baths and an Austin 7 engine. Of course he never actually made it off the ground, but at least the intention was there! Last thing I heard he was in Broadmoor. Shame really. No-one but me seemed to understand him."
Top beardy bloke, Richard Branson, who through Virgin Galactic is about to start fleecing people with more money than sense for what are essentially airplane flights that go quite high; and never one to miss an opportunity for a bit of publicity, has entered the debate. Speaking from the smouldering ruins of his burnt-out mansion on Necker Island last night he said, "Why can't I be one of those dragons in the Dragons' Den? I'm more famous and minted than that load of berks put together. And what's more with me starting Virgin Galactic, then I am Britain's space programme."
Downing Street was remaining tight-lipped on the matter, but a source close to the PM commented off the record, "Mr Cameron has no money available to waste on rockets and spacemen and all that schoolboy nonsense."
It now remains to be seen whether Sir Patrick's comments will be given enough credence to spark a new space race between the Russians and the USA.