The Space Race: Professor reveals carbon footprint of going to space
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Speaking to the BBC about the space race, 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.” On July 11 Sir Richard Branson, age 70, made history by becoming the first billionaire in space at a reported cost of $841million, while Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin’s spaceship launched just nine days later at an estimated cost of $5.5billion.
Sir Richard said: “My mum taught me to never give up and to reach for the stars.”
A seat in his Virgin Galactic will currently set you back $250,000.
Elon Musk is yet to announce plans on shooting himself away from Earth, but his company SpaceX is widely considered the leader in the private space industry, and Mr Musk has made it known that his top priority is to make humans an “interplanetary species”.
He added: “I think it is important for humanity to become a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanet species, and it’s going to take a lot of resources to build a city on Mars.
“I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city on Mars.
“That means just a lot of capital.”
Jeff Bezos took 82-year-old Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk on his $5.5billion space flight – a woman who had astronaut training in the Sixties but was denied the chance to go into space because of her gender.
Since then, Bezos said he’s made more than $100million in selling tickets to board his rocket.
That’s $100million dollars that many scientists say should have been invested in fighting the war against climate change and other societal issues.
It would cost $6billion to save 41 million people who are set to die of hunger by the end of 2021, according to UN World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley.
He wrote on Twitter: “Hey, Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, so excited to see you compete on who gets to space first! BUT, I would love to see you TEAM up together to save the 41 million people who are about to starve this year on Earth! It only takes $6 Billion. We can solve this quickly!”
Former US Labour Secretary Robert Reich tweeted: “Is anyone else alarmed that billionaires are having their own private space race while record-breaking heatwaves are sparking a ‘fire-breathing dragon of clouds’ and cooking sea creatures to death in their shells?”
Others have claimed that Mr Bezos could have funded Covid vaccines for two billion people in low-income countries with the money he spent on going to space for four minutes.
He also reportedly could have planted up to five billion trees or funded humanitarian efforts in Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Yemen, and Horn of Africa combined.
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However, the space tycoons have pledged to help save the world as well.
At COP26 on Tuesday, Mr Bezos made a $1bn pledge to tackle climate change from his Bezos Earth Fund and said he is working with other philanthropic organisations to protect 30 percent of the Earth’s land and sea by 2030.
He added: “I was told that seeing the Earth from space changes the lens through which you view the world, but I was not prepared for just how much that would be true.
“Looking back at Earth from up there, the atmosphere seemed so thin, the world so finite and so fragile.
“Now, in this critical year, and what we all know is the decisive decade, we must all stand together to protect our world.
“Climate change gives us a powerful reason to invest in nature.”
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A few days before on Sunday, Prince Charles met with the Amazon boss at the G20 summit in Rome.
The Prince urged Mr Bezos and other corporate giants to invest their staggering wealth into saving the planet by turning “fine words” into “finer action”.
The Duke emphasised that governments can invest billions into green solutions, but corporations can invest trillions – and getting the private sector on board in the fight against climate change is key.
Mr Bezos later posted on Instagram: “The Prince of Wales has been involved in fighting climate change and protecting our beautiful world for five decades – far longer than most.
“We had a chance to discuss these important issues on the eve of #COP26 – looking for solutions to heal our world, and how the BezosEarthFund can help.”
Considering Amazon is worth $1.7trillion and Mr Bezos’ net worth is $195.9billion, do you think a pledge of $1billion to protect the environment is enough? Let us know in the comment section below.
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