Whos all going to space?
So Oliver from 18 from Tilburg was one of those people who went to space. Thanks to this trip, he now has two records in his name. Hes the youngest ever to go to space. And hes the first to pay for it. Or yes, his father did that for him. How much money he was transferring is unknown.
Oliver went into space with Jeff Bezos and two others. Jeff Bezos is an American billionaire, he founded the company Amazon. He now has his own space company: Blue Origin.
Apart from Bezos, there are two billionaires who see space travel. British billionaire Richard Branson has already been there. He flew with his own space company Virgin Galactic. And then theres SpaceX, Elon Musks company. This is where the first tourist trip is scheduled for the end of this year. Bransons company will also sell space travel from next year. Thats not for nothing. You can go for 170,000 to 210,000 euros per ticket.
All these companies are commercial and so they want to make money. You also have other space organizations: NASA in America, ESA in Europe and the NSO in the Netherlands. These are government organizations that research space and therefore travel to it.
Why is there criticism of space tourism trips?
When we talk about tourist space travel, its about billionaire commercial companies offering such trips. Like Blue Origin by Jeff Bezos.
Marieke de Vries is a correspondent in America and sees people criticise space travel as well. “Greenpeace wonders if you shouldnt save our Earth first before looking up,” she says.
Oxfam Novib is also critical of the billions spent on tourist trips to space. “Billionaire space trips are a blow to the face of people in poverty,” that organization says. According to Oxfam Novib, you can use all that money to help poor people here and take good care of the planet.
And so you dont do that when you fly to space, Greenpeace thinks. According to the environmental organization, Jeff Bezos journey emissions are 278 times greater than the average human emissions in a whole year. “Thats another ego trip,” the organization says about that.
Shar Timman is an aerospace expert and understands criticism. “The unpopular answer to that is that if that money doesnt go to space, it doesnt necessarily go to poor people either.”
She also thinks space travel is too far from their bed for many people. “Because its not your world, we dont see the benefits for the future either. And thats where it goes wrong.”
The space expert compares it to the first car. “Not everyone saw the usefulness of that either, because there was a horse and carriage, and it just worked? But now you can hardly see any more horses on the road and everyone drives a car.”
What do those space travel mean for the rest of the world?
Commercial space travel is now expensive and therefore exclusive. But that changes in the future, Timman thinks. “Somewhere in our lives it becomes much easier and more normal for us to go to space. This kind of travel pushes your boundaries.”
According to the space expert, its important that more people go to space for research in the future. “For example, we can learn a lot through the moon about how our Earth used to be.”
Jeff Bezoss space travel plan goes beyond tourism, he says himself. His company Blue Origin ultimately wants industry that is harmful to Earth to be moved to space. These plans arent quite concrete yet. This is not yet clear which harmful industry Blue Origin wants to move.
Elon Musk of Space X also says he doesnt just want to make money on space travel, he wants people to live on Mars. And he wants a base on the moon, as a kind of intermediate station.
Timman thinks those plans are optimistic. “But Im not going to say its impossible, maybe ever in the future.”