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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 10:10 GMT 11:10 UK
New currency for space travellers
Five Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denominations or Quid
Quids are made from the polymer used in non-stick pans
Scientists have come up with a new currency designed to be used by inter-planetary travellers.

It is called the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, or Quid.

It is designed to withstand the stresses of space travel and has no sharp edges or chemicals that could hurt space tourists.

It was designed for the foreign exchange company Travelex by scientists from the National Space Centre and the University of Leicester.

"None of the existing payment systems we use on earth - like cash, credit or debit cards - could be used in space," said Professor George Fraser from the University of Leicester.

"Anything with sharp edges, like coins, would be a risk to astronauts while the chips and magnetic strips used in our cards on Earth would be damaged beyond repair by cosmic radiation," he added.

Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denominations or Quid
Different value "coins" come in different sizes and colours

Using any sort of technology that involved sending and receiving information from Earth would also be impractical because of the distances involved.

Quids are made of the polymer best-known for its use in non-stick pans.

The Quid "coins" have moulded edges so that they will not damage anything if they accidentally float free in zero gravity.

National Space Centre scientists predict that regular trips into space will be commonplace in the next five years and that tourist facilities on the Moon are a distinct possibility by 2050.

Professor Fraser told BBC News: "With an inflatable space hotel, from Bigelow Aerospace, under development in the US, and Virgin Galactic developing SpaceShipTwo, there will be better access to space than there has been.

"In the fullness of time we will have to adopt a universal currency if we are going to carry out serious commerce in space. It's an interesting initiative."

Travelex said: "It's only a matter of time before people will be walking up to our shops and asking for Quids for their two weeks in a space hotel."

It is currently quoting the currency at 6.25 to the Quid.

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