In an interview with a US news station, Richard Branson has revealed this he'll be taking his kids up with him when the first Virgin Galactic edge-of-space planes start running next year -- but a mission to Mars is his new ultimate fantasy.

Speaking about how he sees the burgeoning private space industry growing over the next few decades, Branson told CBS: "In my lifetime, I'm determined to being a part of starting a population on Mars. I think it is absolutely realistic. It will happen."

So not only does he want to go to Mars, he wants to impregnate its indigenous people when he gets there. Charming.

The investment to fund such extravagant fantasy missions will come from the shorter sub-orbital trips. With Branson charging around £80,000 a time to take pop stars and TV moguls on short runs up to the upper atmosphere, that level of income will allow the business to expand further, eventually moving into satellite launches and beyond.

"I think over the next 20 years, we will take literally hundreds of thousands of people to space and that will give us the financial resources to do even bigger things," the bearded dreamer said, before coming back down to reality to talk about the depressing state of US internal flights. [CBS via io9]