Space tourism is ‘more than a thrill ride’ – it’s about connecting to the planet: World View CEO
World View CEO Ryan Hartman and World View Chief Earth Advocate Adrian Grenier join Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the benefits of space tourism, the availability of their space balloon flights in 2024, the rise of crypto and the impact of bitcoin mining.
ADRIAN GRENIER: Well, you know, I’ve been doing environmental work for a good twenty years. And I was brought in to help World View with their environmental program, but also to welcome people when they come back to Earth so that they can continue their journey to rediscover Earth because World View’s mission is not to leave the planet and escape and get out of here. It’s really about looking back and reflecting on our interdependence. So World View’s mission and vision is perfectly aligned with my heart, my mind and the work I have been doing for a long time. – Ryan, I think you came back here. Let me repeat that question about how you separate yourself from some of your rivals. I mean, starting with the price, you come in a lot lower than someone like Space Perspective. RYAN HARTMAN: Well, for us, it’s about creating accessible access. We believe that the benefits of space tourism should be shared with as many people as possible. We have therefore designed our space tourism business around the importance of where we conduct our operations and making it accessible to as many people as possible. So we have what we call the seven wonders of the stratospheric world edition, the seven incredible places in the world where we will fly, and will do so at $50,000 per ticket with available funding. ALEXANDRA CANAL: And Ryan, what are some of the biggest misconceptions about space tourism, because with Jeff Bezos, all the publicity that Blue Origin got, I think it caused some people to think of him as billionaires just throwing their money. . There are issues on Earth that we must first address. What would you say to these critics and why is human space travel important right now? RYAN HARTMAN: Well, that’s exactly what I would say – it’s the misperception that’s the importance of it. You know, access to space gives us the opportunity to have a new perspective on our planet. It gives us the opportunity to better understand our planet. You know, I’m so interested to hear Mark VanDeWeghe talk about his experience of spending a year, 365 days, on the International Space Station and hearing people like him talk about the importance of space. But, you know, it’s more than a thrill ride. It’s so much more than just a trip to say you’ve been to space. It is about better understanding our Earth. It’s about creating a new perspective so that we can contribute to a radically improved future for our planet. – Adrian, you kind of alluded to some of the efforts that you’ve really put your energy into, particularly on the climate, obviously, the fight against plastic pollution. But also, you’ve focused more on investing through DuPont Ventures. What are you really passionate about right now in this space? Where do you put your money? ADRIAN GRENIER: Well, I mean, my money is definitely on World View because having this unprecedented access to the common human to actually have this experience not only creates a critical mass of perspective shift and cognitive shift in the awareness of our interconnectedness, but also, it’s a business model that will work very well because more people will be able to make the trip. ALEXANDRA CANAL: And Adrian, besides space and the environment, you are also a big fan of crypto, NFT, Bitcoin. How do you defend digital currencies when people criticize the climate impact they have, especially when talking about Bitcoin mining for example, which requires a lot of energy and processing power? ADRIEN GRENIER: Yes. I mean, you know, I’m a realist in the sense that I see the trade-off for all things, right? Like, you really have to dive deep and make those trade-off decisions, ultimately. But I consider that cryptography is capable of fixing a large number of systems that are currently broken and which generate a lot of waste in all sectors. So crypto is not just a thing that uses energy. This is something that will help many industries to be more efficient. So if you look at the overall net profit, I think it’s positive. ALEXANDRA CANAL: And Adrian, just to follow the growth that we’ve seen in digital currencies, we’ve seen an explosion of NFTs in the music industry. You star in “Clickbait,” which takes a critical look at social media. This is streamed on Netflix, which is a streaming platform. It looks like we’re in the middle of this digital revolution, so to speak. With your background in Hollywood, how have you seen the industry adapt and evolve over time to keep up? ADRIAN GRENIER: Well, you know, there was a time when everyone and their dentist came to me with a script, you know? My mom wrote a script or, you know, my uncle has this idea. And now it’s NFTs. And everyone has an NFT. And everyone has a coin, which I think is exciting because it really empowers people to be expressive and to communicate and share value with each other without mental people or gatekeepers . – Ryan, finally, let’s bring the conversation back to the experience that World View is building right now. I’m looking at a prize of $50,000. You have my attention because I can’t afford the $250,000 for Blue Origin. What will this experience look like? And what is the deadline? RYAN HARTMAN: Well, so it’s really important to understand that the experience itself is 68 hours long. And so it’s going to give our clients the opportunity to really grasp the beauty of the earth, the fragility of the earth, and see it as a living organism and as something bigger than themselves. And so that’s, I would say, one of the most important parts of our trip– is 68 hours. We are going to start commercial operations in 2024. Our first manned flights will take place at the end of 2023. And so it’s just around the corner. – We look forward to seeing you both on this flight. World View Chief Earth Advocate Adrian Grenier and World View CEO and President Ryan Hartman are delighted to have you with us today. And our thanks also to Ali Canal for joining the conversation.