Thursday, July 22, 2021

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the 'Billionaire Space Race'

I can't resist returning to Branson's and Bezos's billionaire blastoffs, especially because YouTube recommended Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains The Billionaire Space Race. Take it away Dr. Tyson!

Bezos? Branson? Elon Musk? On this explainer, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice break down why all these billionaires are going to space. What does “first commercial space flight” even mean?

We get into all the hoopla about the billionaire space race. Is pooling resources to try to send their private businesses into space really worth it? Didn’t we already send people into orbit already? We break down these landmark space flights, why they matter, and what they mean. How far into space did they go? Discover the sensation of weightlessness and how many Gs the human body can really withstand.
I was glad to hear Dr. Tyson made the same point I did yesterday about whether Richard Branson and the rest of his crew actually made it to space. His answer was "not really," the same as mine, even though Branson and his crew earned astronaut wings. He also made another point that occurred to me but I didn't write about yesterday, that Branson and Jeff Bezos riding in their craft is a sign of confidence in their own creations. I agree, and that's a good thing for the future of space tourism.

Dr. Tyson mentioned that he was on CNN, so I'm following up with Neil deGrasse Tyson explains significance of Richard Branson's space flight.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains what Richard Branson's space flight could mean for the future of space tourism.
Dr. Tyson made a point I've made before, space exploration is political and the Apollo program was part of the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union. That's why I expected a space race between the U.S. and China over the U.S. returning to the Moon before the Chinese get there. Instead, we're seeing a space race among the ultra-rich and their companies. That bothers me less, because Branson, Bezos, and Elon Musk aren't engaged in the same kind of contest for global power that nation-states engage in. Besides, I'm enough of a believer in capitalism that I think making space profitable is a good thing for space exploration and exploitation and also for forestalling withdrawal from space, one of the classic tragic technological decline scenarios from science fiction.

Dr. Tyson addressed a criticism of Bezos and Amazon in particular on MSNBC, when Ari Melber interviewed him for See Neil deGrasse Tyson Break Down The Bezos-Branson Billionaire space Race.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is set to be the next billionaire who paid his way into space on his own rocket, drawing intense backlash. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson talks with MSNBC’s Ari Melber about the current billionaire “space race,” and pushes back on critics who argue inequality and other problems on earth should limit private space travel.
I couldn't have said it better, so I'm glad that Dr. Tyson said it first.

That should do it for the "Billionaire Space Race" for now. Stay tuned for something else tomorrow.

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