Star Wars On The South Bank

Twenty-five years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames.

Such an outrageous idea would be dismissed outright if it wasn't dreamt up by one of Britain's greatest social reformers - Michael Young.

Lord Young of Dartington, who died in 2002, was committed to building institutions dedicated to social improvement.

He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto Let us face the future." But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space.

His son, the author and journalist Toby Young, asks was the Argo Venture an idea too far?

Michael Young believed anything was possible, he left a remarkable legacy of ideas and institutions but perhaps his most remarkable and fantastical is a little known plan to colonise Mars.

Dismayed by President Reagan's militarisation of space, Lord Young called for a "European initiative in the peaceful exploration of space." He wished to inspire people to think of space as a place for peace and so he set his sights on establishing a human colony in space.

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others and made plans for a landmark building on London's Southbank equipped with an anti-gravity ride and exhibits dedicated to space exploration.

Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee's legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure?

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20110408

Almost thirty years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames. Such an outrageous idea would be dismissed outright if it wasn't dreamt up by one of Britain's greatest social reformers - Michael Young.

Lord Young of Dartington, who died in 2002, was committed to building institutions dedicated to social improvement. He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto - Let us face the future. But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space. His son, the author and journalist Toby Young, asks was the Argo Venture an idea too far?

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others. Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure? Could a serious British Mars Programme exemplify the spirit of the early 21st century?

In this programme Toby Young talks to Lord Martin Rees, Professor Colin Pillinger and hears from passionate advocates of Martian colonisation, but what was his father looking for in Space?

Produced by Barney Rowntree

A Somethin Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Toby Young asks why his father was trying to establish a Martian colony on the South Bank.

2010040720110408

Twenty-five years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames.

Such an outrageous idea would be dismissed outright if it wasn't dreamt up by one of Britain's greatest social reformers - Michael Young.

Lord Young of Dartington, who died in 2002, was committed to building institutions dedicated to social improvement.

He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto Let us face the future." But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space.

His son, the author and journalist Toby Young, asks was the Argo Venture an idea too far?

Michael Young believed anything was possible, he left a remarkable legacy of ideas and institutions but perhaps his most remarkable and fantastical is a little known plan to colonise Mars.

Dismayed by President Reagan's militarisation of space, Lord Young called for a "European initiative in the peaceful exploration of space." He wished to inspire people to think of space as a place for peace and so he set his sights on establishing a human colony in space.

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others and made plans for a landmark building on London's Southbank equipped with an anti-gravity ride and exhibits dedicated to space exploration.

Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee's legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure?

Almost thirty years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames.

He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto - Let us face the future.

But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space.

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others.

Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure? Could a serious British Mars Programme exemplify the spirit of the early 21st century?

In this programme Toby Young talks to Lord Martin Rees, Professor Colin Pillinger and hears from passionate advocates of Martian colonisation, but what was his father looking for in Space?

Produced by Barney Rowntree

A Somethin Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Toby Young asks why his father was trying to establish a Martian colony on the South Bank.

2010040720110408
20150529 (BBC7)
20150530 (BBC7)

Twenty-five years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames.

Such an outrageous idea would be dismissed outright if it wasn't dreamt up by one of Britain's greatest social reformers - Michael Young.

Lord Young of Dartington, who died in 2002, was committed to building institutions dedicated to social improvement.

He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto Let us face the future." But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space.

His son, the author and journalist Toby Young, asks was the Argo Venture an idea too far?

Michael Young believed anything was possible, he left a remarkable legacy of ideas and institutions but perhaps his most remarkable and fantastical is a little known plan to colonise Mars.

Dismayed by President Reagan's militarisation of space, Lord Young called for a "European initiative in the peaceful exploration of space." He wished to inspire people to think of space as a place for peace and so he set his sights on establishing a human colony in space.

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others and made plans for a landmark building on London's Southbank equipped with an anti-gravity ride and exhibits dedicated to space exploration.

Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee's legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure?Toby Young asks why his father was trying to establish a Martian colony on the South Bank.

Almost thirty years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames. Such an outrageous idea would be dismissed outright if it wasn't dreamt up by one of Britain's greatest social reformers - Michael Young.

Lord Young of Dartington, who died in 2002, was committed to building institutions dedicated to social improvement. He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto - Let us face the future. But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space. His son, the author and journalist Toby Young, asks was the Argo Venture an idea too far?

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others. Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure? Could a serious British Mars Programme exemplify the spirit of the early 21st century?

In this programme Toby Young talks to Lord Martin Rees, Professor Colin Pillinger and hears from passionate advocates of Martian colonisation, but what was his father looking for in Space?

Produced by Barney Rowntree

A Somethin Else production for BBC Radio 4.

Almost thirty years ago serious plans were made to simulate a Mars colony on the Southbank of the River Thames.

He initiated or played a major role in creating the Consumers' Association, the Open University, as well as Labour's 1945 manifesto - Let us face the future.

But then in 1984 he launched the Argo Venture, a collective of Britain's finest scientists, thinkers and space experts who were calling for the planting of human colonies in space.

He recruited an amazing cast of volunteers; the Scientist James Lovelock, the astronomer Lord Martin Rees and the Science writer Nigel Calder amongst others.

Young's legacy was indisputably great but was this latter-day Georgian folly, born of a grandee legendary enthusiasm? Was the whole project set for failure? Could a serious British Mars Programme exemplify the spirit of the early 21st century?

Toby Young asks why his father was trying to establish a Martian colony on the South Bank.