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Man on Mars? Want to bet on it?

If U.S. President George W. Bush is serious about sending a man to Mars, he can put his money where his mouth is and win a fortune.
/ Source: Reuters

If U.S. President George W. Bush is serious about sending a man to Mars, he can put his money where his mouth is and win a fortune.

British bookmakers William Hill said on Thursday they are offering 50/1 odds against a man walking on Mars by December 31, 2030. Bush announced plans on Wednesday to send humans back to the moon as early as 2015 and eventually to Mars.

The bookies are also sceptical that humans will soon return to the moon -- they are taking bets at 10/1 against anyone reaching the moon before December 31, 2015.

But the oddsmakers have underestimated space exploration before, to their cost.

In 1969, when Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, Hill's paid out 10,000 pounds to punter David Threlfall, who had bet 10 pounds at odds of 1000/1 in the early 1960s that nobody would reach the moon before the end of the decade.