Dear billionaires, stop going to space
We've hit peak 2021. A reality show based in an earth-orbiting spacecraft is coming to Netflix. Billionaire Jared Isaacman, who's known for dropping out of high school and creating the world's largest private air force which he sold for hundreds of millions of dollars, has helped fund the show named Countdown: Inspiration4 Mission to Space. Which makes us wonder whether space joyrides are becoming increasingly popular as a flex of wealth or simply because the world is so fucked everyone wants to get the hell out of here.
The four civilian astronauts (they were just ~normal people~ before) will be riding in a SpaceX (El*n M*sk's one) capsule that will orbit the earth for four days. Now I know this is quite a feat of science and we're living in the future and blah blah blah, but I couldn't help but roll my eyes when I saw this show announced. The promo trailer contains the line "if they can go, we can all go."
Which we know to be total bullshit.
In the interest of transparency and honest journalism it must be mentioned that part of the show is a $200 million fundraising effort for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which is great. But it's reported that the ticket price for each of the four civilians was $55 million. Each. $220 million total. More than the fundraising goal. So call me cynical, but how about billionaire Isaacman just donates to children's cancer research directly?
Participants say that space travel is inspirational. The very craft the four astronauts will board is called Inspiration4. But what the fuck is inspirational about watching a couple of people do something that you'll most likely never have access to? There are lots of reasons to go to space. Research, mining, discovery, looking for another planet when this one is totally ruined. The list goes on! But the disgustingly rich spending fucking millions on a joy ride in the name of ~inspiration~ is just not it.
People all around the world are struggling. Not just in the pandemic, they were struggling before. In some ways, the pandemic was painted as a Great Equaliser when it first hit. We're all in the same boat, just ask the celebrities! Poor Ellen was locked in her enormous mansion that's probably as big as your whole neighbourhood! But that's simply not the case. The elite, the rich, the upper class have access to medical resources that much of the world doesn't.
We saw what happened when celebs preached that we're all in this together. Unfortunately I don't think anyone will forget that cursed rendition of Imagine we were all subjected to. The reaction to it was that those A listers were out of touch. That they were living in a bubble if they thought that's all the world needed to distract from the international pandemic.
And recreational space travel is the same. Bezos and Branson claimed to have jetted off through the atmosphere for the good of all. To inspire the children! To give us all something to live for in these dark times! The difference is that recreational space travel costs a shit load of money. Money that could go elsewhere, including to the very cause the show is claiming to support.
This show is not inspirational, it's personal entertainment for the filthy rich.