A FORMER science student has called for space travel to be abolished.

Malcolm Thorpe spoke out to urge people to focus on improving planet Earth instead.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Haywards Heath, said: “We were created to make this planet our home and now I am an individual taking responsibility.

“We have to stop and think, this is wonderful. So, I’m opening up a debate.”

Malcolm stated that “as far as I am concerned planet Earth is the centre of the universe”.

His views are shared by many, with thousands of youngsters taking to the streets of Brighton last week to take part in a global youth demonstration over climate change.

Malcolm said: “Why gamble? Let’s spend all our time and money on developing this planet for the good of everyone and abolish all space programmes.

“It’s incredible that India for example, with millions of its citizens living in abject poverty, has a space programme.

“People will argue it’s only natural to explore space. I argue that we have been given choices and it should be natural to try and make the right choice for the good of all humanity.”

Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk founded the SpaceX programme, which aims to provide transport to Mars, allowing the planet to be colonised.

Earlier this month, he responded to a question on Twitter, saying that he believed a ticket to Mars would one day cost less than $100,000, with a free return ticket.

He described the price as “low enough that most people in advanced economies could sell their home on Earth and move to Mars if they want”.

The journey would be made on SpaceX’s Starship, a new craft that is currently being tested.

But Malcolm does not think colonising another planet was the answer to humanity’s problems.

He said: “Even if scientists could develop an atmosphere on Mars conducive for human habitation, it still does not guarantee that the human body, which has taken thousands of years to evolve on planet Earth, will not develop long-term problems on a planet with a much smaller total mass compared with that of Earth.”

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, Malcolm is taking part in Chestnut Tree House hospice’s Pay For A Day fundraising programme.

He said the charity embodies the idea of making the world a better place. On July 21, 50 years and one day after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, he will be supporting the charity’s costs for the day.