UN Secretary-General Guterres Expresses Apprehension Towards Space Tourism8th Oct 2021
General Guterres addressed the General Assembly on 27th September with the words “billionaires joyriding to space,” opening the floor to the discussion over the increased number of space tourism missions scheduled for the next five years. The assembly was called into session to discuss the current state of the space sector and to address the growing concern over squandered funding and private trips to outer space.
Space tourism trend exposes giant gap between wealth and poverty
The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone – from strict restrictions to massive layoffs, times have been unprecedented. The epidemic has perhaps done one positive thing: expose the vast inequality in wealth between the handful of billionaire entrepreneurs and the billions of others who struggle to put food on the table.
Immediately after the space tourism flights of Richard Branson from Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos from Blue Origin, the public flew into an outrage over the gratuitous waste of funding over a simple ‘joyride’. Millions of people across social media shared their opinion over what many considered an affluent display of wealth. Following the outrage, congressman Earl Blumenauer announced plans to enforce taxation on future space tourism missions for companies like Virgin and Blue Origin, stating that flights without any scientific purpose should be taxed as if the passengers were flying on a commercial airline – which is essentially what Blue Origin offers.
Space tourism should be for everyone, not just for the select few
You too could fly into space – for the modest price of $250,000 per passenger. The cost of tickets to fly with Virgin Galactic is laughable, a price aimed at those with cash to literally burn in a fireplace. Think that is too expensive; Blue Origin and SpaceX space tourism missions currently cost roughly $1,000,000 per seat.
The community has agreed on one specific thing: space tourism missions should be accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy. Drew Shindell, professor at Duke University, has shared that the money spent on private space tourism ‘rides’ are not only wasteful but insulting towards the public amidst these troubling times.