Let’s hear it for Nigeria, which has just joined the space race. The country plans to launch a rocket by 2028, although nobody has explained where the rocket will be heading. It is a legal requirement, I suspect, for all countries which receive vast amounts of aid from Britain to start pinging rockets around the universe. Perhaps the Nigerians are hopeful of colonising Jupiter, or the ghostly moons of Uranus – Oberon, say, or Umbriel. Both satellites would undoubtedly benefit from some warm-hearted Nigerian vibrancy. We’re giving the Nigerians more than £300m next year, which should pay for the elastic band, at least. Our previous donations were revealed to have been utterly useless, incidentally, according to the Independent Commission on Aid Impact. But maybe we’re not subsidising their space programme: perhaps the money has come from those clever emails where random westerners are asked to deposit money in a bank account in the promise of greater reward subsequently.
News just in: apparently a couple of other African countries are also pursuing space programme, including one of the poorest in the world, Uganda. I suppose at the least we can say it’s marvellous that alien life forms will have the opportunity to experience the true multicultural diversity of human life.