Forget space race, fix Earth instead
Prince William slams Bezos, Musk and new space race
LONDON, Oct 14: Britain's Prince William ignited controversy on Thursday by blasting space tourism and saying that more attention should be paid to problems closer to home ahead of the COP26 climate summit.
The comments by Queen Elizabeth II's grandson were scheduled to be aired in a BBC interview later Thursday, a day after 90-year-old "Star Trek" star William Shatner became a real space traveller on Blue Origin's second crewed mission. The company's maiden human flight in July had included its founder Jeff Bezos of Amazon and was seen as a breakthrough for the emerging space tourism sector.
But Prince William said: "We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live." Virgin Galactic, which offers a similar experience of a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of the Earth's curvature from the cosmos, launched its founder Richard Branson in July, a few days before Bezos.
The comments by William, second in line to the UK throne, were rebuffed by critics who pointed to the scientific value of mankind's decades-old forays into the final frontier. British space scientist and broadcaster Maggie Aderin-Pocock said she agreed with William that humanity had made a "mess" of Earth, and had to learn the lessons.
"But it can't be our only focus. Space is inspirational. Because of 'Star Trek', I became a space scientist, now I work on climate change," she said on ITV. "I'm going to COP26 next month to talk about how space is helping us with climate change. So yes, we need to focus on climate change, but it can't be the only thing." -AFP