Does it seem insane to anyone else that a trio of billionaires are flying off into space in their giant phalluses during a pandemic? A time when most Australian citizens can’t travel interstate to visit a dying friend or relative? Or to go to a funeral? Or to come home from overseas to return to their loved ones? Or to be stranded in another state because they travelled there between border closures?
This all started when Elon Musk launched his rocket into space at the end of May 2020. Two NASA astronauts created history because it was the first time Musk’s company SpaceX had sent humans into space. It’s interesting that Musk did not join the crew but instead watched the launch from the safety of the Earth with his buddies Don Trump and Mike Pence. I guess he wasn’t ready to die just then.
Musk founded his company SpaceX in 2002. Since that time, the company has been launching satellites and spacecraft into orbit to see if they could avoid crashes with planes. And more recently, a helicopter. In fact, the latest launch that was scheduled for the end of June 2021 had to be abandoned because a helicopter flew into the rocket’s airspace.
But let’s not be too farcical here. SpaceX has been providing internet services to places where residents have been unable to connect due to the geographical location. And creating a booking system for rideshare in a Falcon 9 rocket for one million dollars per ticket. Musk announced that his goal is to make “humanity a multi-planetary species.” I’m not so sure I like that idea. Humanity has almost destroyed the planet Earth. Why start on another one?
Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Spaceflight corporation also seems to be obsessed with space flights for paying customers. He received his licence for commercial spaceflights recently which means the program is on track to begin next year. When he and his crew took off into space in his Virgin Galactic rocket plane on 11 July 2021, the plan was to evaluate the experience for his potential customers. This is what he had to say about it.
“And why shouldn’t they go to space? Space is extraordinary; the Universe is magnificent. I want people to be able to look back at our beautiful Earth and come home and work very hard to try to do magic to it to look after it.” This is what I was thinking. “And while you’re at it, why not do a bit of magic to get rid of the pandemic”??
Later in July 2021
And then there was Geoff Bezos. He made his billions through his company Amazon to become the richest man in the world. He is also the founder of the space company Blue Origin. Bezos just had to fulfill his lifelong ambition and launch his rocket during the pandemic. Although known to be a ruthless boss, Bezos was gracious when he announced, “I want to thank every Amazon employee and customer because you guys paid for this.” Nice. I wonder what Amazon employees thought of that.
Towards the end of July 2021
So far, the pandemic has obliterated almost four million of the Earth’s people. And despite the vaccinations, there is no end in sight. In fact, the pandemic seems worse this year than it was last year. This is mainly due to the evolution of the virus which has led to far more transmissible strains such as Delta. Most of the Earth’s people are struggling. At the same time, billionaires are heading off into space. It seems ludicrous to me when some of that money could be spent on vaccinations, building quarantine centres, support for mental health, respirators and much more. These things can’t wait whereas space travel can.
I’m just saying ….
I know space travel and exploration is a really important area of science. Without it we wouldn’t have the internet, GPS and weather reports. Nor would we have artificial limbs, memory foam, scratch resistant lenses and water filters. Although humanity benefits from these inventions, they were only invented to make the rocket trip more comfortable and safer for astronauts. I’m just saying that’s all!!
Rocket drawing by my grandson, Kieran Fraher (4)