O a tiny step for mankind, a giant ego journey for Jeff Bezos. The most human rich man ejaculated into space this week, in what wasn't quite the first suborbital tourist flight - Richard Bransonbeat him up there - but definitely the fastest. "Everyone who's been in space, they say it changes them ", Bezos said seriously , of a journey that lasted about the time it takes to boil an egg.
If you say so, Jeff. But it looked a lot like the intergalactic equivalent of one of those cruises where a vast herd is disgorged ashore for a brief stunned stomp on the nearest landmark before being rounded up and taken to the next port. Of course you've been to Venice, technically. But which one was still Venice?
Anyway, the 57-year-old Bezos said seeing our blue and green orb from space made it appreciate his fragility , so no sarcastic remarks about whether the cowboy hat he has insisted on wearing only screams "midlife crisis " or how much his rocket looks like a penis (a lot, since you ask). "I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer", Bezos said foggy afterwards. “Because you paid for it all. Well, yeah, in a very real sense we did. And now we would like to get our money back. Someone late calculates that the roughly $ 5.5 billion the trip cost could have bought enough food to stop 37.5 million people starving.
Compare and contrast with his ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott, who intends to give a settlement of distributed $ 8.5 billion to causes such as food banks, black colleges and women-run charities. Every Amazon employee and customer also paid for that, but perhaps a little less reluctantly. If only there was some sort of mechanism, ideally administered by governments on behalf of their nations, by which people with more money than they could ever possibly get. to spend had to redistribute some of it among the homelesswhich they could not have done. Crazy idea, obviously, although less crazy than Bezos' suggestion to move all the data polluting industries on Earth in space, to protect our fragile planet by ruining it another instead.
Its plans to orbit paying tourists could still fail because it is the most niche niche market. It won't say how much a ticket would cost - but suffice it to say that if you need to ask, you can't afford it. (An anonymous individual paid $ 28 million at auction for a seat on that maiden flight, before yelling at the last minute claiming "scheduling conflicts", leaving one wondering what kind of person is too busy to boldly go where no hedge fund has been before;the seat was eventually occupied by the 18-year-old son of a Dutch financier.)
But like Branson and Elon Musk, his downfall to dystopian adventurers in the Space, Bezos detects commercial exploitation opportunities of some sort beyond this earthly realm and wants to enter the ground floor. Branson thinks there might be a market for using rockets to move people very quickly between cities on Earth, much like Concorde but more. Musk appears determined to capture an emerging private sector market in transporting crew and cargo to space stations created by cuts to the state-funded NASA space flight program.
If Bezos steals the phallus was little more than an attempt by a restless billionaire to kill the void within, then it might be infuriating but it doesn't 'would ultimately have no importance. That would be just what happens when you get so rich and powerful that there isn't anyone left with the courage to tell you that the hat looks ridiculous, just like a business model seemingly based on it. 'exploitation of warehouse workers while providing other millionaires with a glorified merry-go-round in space.
But if what this portends is the uncontrolled commercial exploitation of the ultimate pristine environment by an elite group of more powerful super billionaires than many governments , encouraged by the unfettered way in which they were allowed to operate on Earth, to believe that they can do the same in the sky - well, Houston, we havens a problem. Better to hope for the good of all of us that this really is a quarantine vanity project after all.