Story at a glance

  • Prince William on Thursday criticised the emerging space tourism industry only hours after Star Trek legend William Shatner became the oldest person to travel to space.
  • The Duke of Cambridge told the BBC he believes the Earth’s brightest should focus on the immediate challenges the planet faces.
  • The 39-year-old implored adults to "remember how much it meant to be outdoors and what we're robbing those future generations of."

Prince William on Thursday criticised the emerging space tourism industry only hours after Star Trek legend William Shatner became the oldest person to visit space. 

The Duke of Cambridge told the BBC he believes the Earth’s brightest should focus on the immediate challenges the planet faces rather than joining the space race, seemingly chiding Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk for their otherworldly pursuits. 

"We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” William said. 

"I think that ultimately is what sold it for me — that really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future."

William — who said he has no interest in blasting to space — continued that he’s seeing a growing climate anxiety among younger generations whose "futures are basically threatened the whole time," adding that he finds it “unnerving” and “anxiety making.” 

The 39-year-old implored adults to "remember how much it meant to be outdoors and what we're robbing those future generations of."

A foundation supported by William and Kate Middleton will award The Earthshot Prize — five, 1-million pound prizes — annually to those with solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. 


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Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ space company’s New Shepard Rocket on Wednesday carried Shatner and three others 66 miles to the edge of space on a 10-minute flight, an event the 90-year-old actor described as the “most profound experience.” 

“I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it,” he said. “It’s so — it’s so much larger than me and life."

Jeff Bezos joined his brother, Mark Bezos, and aerospace pioneer Wally Funk on the rocket’s inaugural suborbital flight in July more than a week after Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson accomplished the feat. 


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Published on Oct 14, 2021