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IT professionals would rather win a wad of cash than a trip to space, the company behind a space flight competition said.

Red Gate, which is running a competition to send one lucky database administrator on a suborbital space flight, asked its 4,000 Twitter followers if they would rather take see the wonders and glory of space or take the optional cash equivalent of $102,000 if they won.

Well over half the IT professionals following the Cambridge-based software firm said they'd prefer to take the dosh, and of that 60 per cent, two-thirds would use the readies to pay off their mortgage.

"It looks like the recession must really be biting, as six out of 10 of them would rather take the substantial cash equivalent instead of the journey of a lifetime,” Neil Davidson, joint CEO of Red Gate said in a canned statement.

The results would lead many to think that the reputation of basement-dwelling BOFHs as boring, stuffy and sensible was well-deserved, but to be fair to the DBAs, it is only a suborbital trip...

"We originally wanted to put a database administrator on a flight to Mars, but given NASA's budget cuts that was a non-starter," Davidson told The Register.

But he reckons the suborbital flight on offer is still a pretty amazing opportunity.

"That gives the chance for someone to experience the grandeur of space and join the lucky few who've viewed Earth from the heavens," he enthused.

"Sadly I think the choice of cash over flight has more to do with the recession than the epic prize itself – unless IT staff have all been working on their own spacecraft in their basements," he joked in a not-entirely unlikely fashion.

Red Gate's competition is coming to a close on the new extended deadline of 22 November, after which the winner will be chosen out of all the people who got the video sci-fi questions right.

The final decision will come down to what they would tweet if they were in space, the best of which will be chosen in an X-Factor-style vote-off: 50 per cent public vote and 50 per cent judges.

Finalists will be announced for public voting on 6 December.

According to Davidson, only one in five applicants are getting the questions right, so if you work with databases, there's still time to launch your space mission, or pay off your mortgage. ®

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