As space tourism needs regulation, Jesuit astronomer is ready to go

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With private companies planning to expand their offerings in orbital and suborbital space tourism and more and more civilians already shooting into space, a Jesuit astronomer has said that if ever the opportunity is there for him to do so. was offered, he would go.

“I know enough to never say no to an opportunity,” American Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, planetary astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, told Vatican News on July 29.

“If God opens a door, he wants me to go through it quickly,” he said.

“I am a very shy person in many ways, but I was lucky enough 25 years ago to go to Antarctica to collect some of these meteorites and it was not easy, but it is an adventure that I would never have regretted having done it, ”he recalls. .

However, one of the problems with the expansion of space travel is the current lack of regulation, he said.

Laws are needed “to make sure that we don’t interfere with each other, that our satellites don’t collide and wreak havoc on everyone,” he said.

The establishment of regulations that everyone can agree on “has yet to happen, so there is still a long way to go before I think it would be safe for an ordinary person to buy a ticket and to go into space, ”he added.

The extremely high ticket price – a seat can cost millions or tens of millions of dollars – has sparked criticism that the money should be used to help the poor.

Brother Consolmagno agreed that there was some merit in this criticism as well as “saying that these billionaires are arrogant and quite irritating people. Of course, if you read the scriptures you realize that King David can also be quite irritating at times. “

“It comes with the territory of being someone who does new and exciting things and can often get carried away by their own worth,” he said.

However, “we are more than animals who need to eat. We must also feed our souls, ”and no human being should be denied“ a chance to explore and satisfy this curiosity about “Who am I? and ‘Where am I from?’ and ‘How am I related to this creation?’ “, he said.

“After all, you look at the seven days of creation in the scriptures and while the first six are aimed at making sure that there is a planet we can live on, the ultimate purpose of creation is the Sabbath, the day that we move on to contemplate God and God’s creation, ”said Brother Consolmagno.

“We are called to feed the poor so that the poor have the chance to also be able to contemplate creation, whether through science or through art,” he said.

For now, every human being has the opportunity to contemplate and be in awe of the cosmos, he said.

“Whether or not you get on a spaceship (people) can at least go out at night and look at the stars, take a look at the moon and spend a few moments remembering that the world is bigger than my day. . today’s worries could be, ”he said.

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