William Shatner: Prince William has the wrong idea about private space tourism

William Shatner: Prince William has the wrong idea about private space tourism

Last week, Prince William actually said something which many of us (begrudgingly) agree with, which is that space cowboy billionaires should stop spending billions of dollars on space travel and use that money to solve some of earth’s problems. William said this on the same day that William Shatner went to space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Shatner came to earth and had lovely things to say about the experience, but then he heard all of the criticism lodged at him for his space-travel tourism and he began clapping back. While Baldemort didn’t name-check Shatner specifically, Shatner did take Bill’s comments personally:

William Shatner is responding to Prince William’s criticism of space travel. ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke with the 90-year-old actor on Thursday, one day after he traveled to space, and Shatner was quick to defend his journey, and space travel as a whole.

“He’s a lovely Englishman. He’s going to be king of England one day,” Shatner told ET of the Duke of Cambridge. “He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.”

For Shatner, though, the journey held a different meaning, one that thought ahead to protecting the Earth, not finding an alternate place for its people to inhabit.

“The idea here is not to go, ‘Yeah, look at me. I’m in space.’ The landing that consumed all that… energy and people to take a look and go, ‘Oh, look at that.’ No,” Shatner said. “I would tell the prince, and I hope the prince gets the message, this is a baby step into the idea of getting industry up there, so that all those polluting industries, especially, for example, the industries that make electricity… off of Earth.”

“We’ve got all the technology, the rockets, to send the things up there… You can build a base 250, 280 miles above the Earth and send that power down here, and they catch it, and they then use it, and it’s there,” he continued. “All it needs is… somebody as rich as Jeff Bezos [to say], ‘Let’s go up there.’” At the end of the day, Shatner said, “The prince is missing the point. The point is these are the baby steps to show people [that] it’s very practical. You can send somebody like me up into space.”

As for the duke’s argument that there are issues that need to be addressed on Earth, Shatner said he “of course” agrees.

“So fix some of the stuff down here,” Shatner said. “… But we can curl your hair and put lotion on your face at the same time.”

[From ET]

I agree with the fundamental belief that industries can walk and chew gum at the same time, that there’s room for space tourism and private companies’ exploration of space for industry alongside a larger movement to move to green energy. But Shatner makes it sound like this is actually the first step for humans colonizing and polluting space. And the fact is, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk are NOT investing their fortunes to improve life on earth. They’re exploiting earth’s resources and then f–king off to space. Now, this isn’t Shatner’s fault. He only accepted a ride and he was clearly moved by the experience. This isn’t “on” him to defend, he’s not the face of this. Similarly, I don’t really think Prince William should be the face of environmental initiatives.

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Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red.

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