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‘Got the wrong idea’: William Shatner responds to British prince William’s criticism on ‘space race’

“I would tell the prince, and I hope the prince gets the message, this is a baby step into the idea of getting industry up there,” William Shatner said.
Star Trek actor William Shatner experiences weightlessness with three other passengers during the apogee of the Blue Origin New Shepard mission NS-18 suborbital flight near Van Horn, Texas, U.S. in a still image from video October 13, 2021. Blue Origin/Handout via REUTERS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY(via REUTERS)
Published on Oct 15, 2021 10:44 PM IST
Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Popular Canadian actor William Shatner, who recently became the oldest person to have gone to space, responded to Prince William of the British royal family after the latter’s criticism about “space tourism.”

Shatner, known for his role in the popular TV franchise Star Trek, recently jetted off to space and landed back on earth safely aboard a Blue Origin spacecraft ‘New Shephard’ on October 13. The mission was the second successful human spaceflight conducted by the company that was founded by billionaire Jeff Bezos, one of the front runners in space travel.

Following this, the Duke of Cambridge William, in an interview to the BBC, said that earth should first be fixed instead of trying to find the next place to go. “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,” he said during the interview on Thursday. “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,” he further said. However, he made no direct reference to Bezos or Shatner in his comment.

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Also read | ‘Space? We have a lot to do here’: Bill Gates explains why he is not ‘trying to escape planet earth in a spaceship’

In response, Shatner said that William “got the wrong idea” in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “The idea here is not to go, 'Yeah, look at me. I'm in space’...No,” Shatner said defending his journey. Further, he also gave a message to William in which he said that the efforts were the first step in taking polluting industries off of earth.

“I would tell the prince, and I hope the prince gets the message, this is a baby step into the idea of getting industry up there, so that all those polluting industries, especially, for example, the industries that make electricity... off of Earth,” Entertainment Tonight quoted Shatner as saying. But he also agreed with the argument that some issues need to be addressed.

Certainly William is not the first person who has expressed his criticism for space travel on air. Recently Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates too, during an appearance in a late night talk show, expressed similar opinions and popularly said, “Space? You know, we have a lot to do here on earth.”

Also, Bezos is not the only billionaire experimenting on space travel. Previously Virgin group’s Richard Branson himself travelled to space while Tesla founder Elon Musk was a part of the Inspiration4 mission. On their part, Bezos and Musk have both publicly acknowledged the criticism directed at them.

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