UN Secretary-General attacks space tourism
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday denounced the “glaring inequalities” in wealth exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, highlighting in particular recent developments in the space tourism industry.
By imploring world leaders at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to promote equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and to take greater action on climate change, Guterres was keen to accelerate the development of the missions of space tourism amid a public health crisis, claiming the practice is exacerbating long-standing inequalities.
“COVID and the climate crisis have exposed deep vulnerabilities as societies and as a planet. Yet instead of humility in the face of these epic challenges, we see pride, ”he began, pointing to the growing“ disease of mistrust ”between different socio-economic groups.
“When they see billionaires traveling through space while millions of people on earth go hungry … years,” said Guterres.
Billionaires including the founder of Amazon Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosEquilibrium / Sustainability – Presented by the American Petroleum Institute – Climate change turns US into coffee country Foundations promise record funding for biodiversity, CEO of Tesla Elon muskElon Reeve Musk’s General Secretary UN Slams Space Tourism Elon Musk Promises Improved Toilets and Wi-Fi on Upcoming SpaceX Flight Elon Musk mocks Biden for ignoring his company’s historic space flight MORE and Virgin Mobile CEO Richard Branson have all been heavily involved in the growth of the space tourism industry. All three have developed and launched their own space tourism businesses and successfully sent passengers into space in 2021.
Bezos and Branson both visited the space themselves.
While some of the inaugural flights featured veteran astronauts and lucky volunteers, the cost of tickets to board one of these flights is incredibly expensive, with Branson’s Virgin Galactic tickets costing around $ 250,000 per passenger.
The development of space tourism has sparked much criticism of billionaires from lawmakers like Sens. Elizabeth warrenSenators Elizabeth Warren11 urge the House to pass the .5T package ahead of the infrastructure bill. (D-Mass.) And Bernie sandersBernie Sanders Biden touts “progress” in “candid” meetings on .5T Manchin plan: Biden told moderates to present price of reconciliation bill Biden uses flurry of meetings to unite warring factions MORE (I-Vt.), Who advocate wealth tax for the wealthy and who say climate change and poverty should be higher priorities for those with massive wealth.
Bezos conceded some of these criticisms.
“They are largely right, we have to do both,” he told CNN reporters. “We have a lot of problems here and now on Earth and we have to work on it, and we have to always look to the future. We have to do both.
Bezos further added that these passenger trips were aimed at laying the groundwork for making space travel more commercialized.