Shatner: Prince William has "got the wrong idea" about space tourism

(AP Photo/Michael Hill)

William Shatner became the oldest person to travel to space on Wednesday at the age of 90. He was given the opportunity to take a Blue Origin flight to the edge of space with three other travelers. By Thursday, Prince William was weighing in with his hot takes about space tourism and saving the planet. Shatner offered up a response when asked about the prince’s critique during an interview.

Both William and Shatner made their remarks during interviews, it should be noted. Neither were just randomly spouting off. William, the future king of England, has been pretty restrained in making public statements on woke topics like saving the planet but he’s known to be supportive of the cause. Shatner, as a seasoned senior citizen who has led a big life, took a measured approach to correct Williams’s generalizations. William said entrepreneurs should focus on saving Earth rather than engaging in space tourism. His opinion is that great minds, great brains should be “trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live”.

William spoke to the BBC’s Newscast ahead of the first Earthshot Prize to reward those trying to save the planet.

The prize’s name is a reference to the “moonshot” ambition of 1960s America, which saw then-President John F Kennedy pledge to get a man on the moon within a decade.

“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 told Newscast’s Adam Fleming he had “absolutely no interest” in going as high as space, adding there was a “fundamental question” over the carbon cost of space flights.

He warned there was “a rise in climate anxiety” among young people who whose “futures are basically threatened the whole time”.

“It’s very unnerving and it’s very, you know, anxiety making,” he said.

Frankly, he sounds like lots of other people who aren’t interested in space programs or learning about other planets. Their argument since JFK first challenged Americans to build a space program has been that the money spent should be spent on earth, on domestic problems. It’s ironic that the timing of the interview and William’s remarks were ahead of the first Earthshot Prize, a reference to the moonshot challenge.

There are great minds to do both, to work on domestic problems here on earth and to travel to space. It’s not an either/or proposition. The flight on the New Shepard rocket lasted about 11 minutes and Jeff Bezos paid the bill. Unlike NASA, private space tourism isn’t paid for by American taxpayers. Bezos, and Elon Musk (SpaceX), both with their space operations located in Texas, use their billions of dollars of personal wealth to make their space flights happen. Richard Branson does the same with his Virgin Galactic. All of those billionaires also contribute generously to saving Planet Earth.

William justifies his stance by inserting his three children into the mix.

The father-of-three challenged adults to channel their inner child to “remember how much it meant to be outdoors and what we’re robbing those future generations of”.

William also said his father, Prince Charles, had a “rough ride” when warning about climate change, adding: “It’s been a hard road for him.”

He said Charles, inspired by his father, the late Duke of Edinburgh, “talked about climate change a lot more, very early on, before anyone else thought it was a topic”.

The duke added that “it would be an absolute disaster if [Prince] George is sat here talking” about saving the planet in 30 year’s time.

The great outdoors is a source of enjoyment for children and adults alike, no argument there. However, dreams of space travel and making discoveries in space are also real. And, as far as William’s concerns over children having climate anxiety, look no further than crazy-ass liberal parents who project that anxiety on their children. Children as young as kindergarteners are being given climate change propaganda in lessons. Common sense has long been abandoned by many people over this subject. Any objection to draconian measures is viewed as climate denial.

William Shatner takes a different approach. He said that the prince gets it wrong. He did so gently, though. Space tourism isn’t just about being able to say you went to space. He said space travel can be used to protect Earth. It isn’t just consuming energy to go to space, there will be rewards for doing so that benefit everyone. Shatner highlighted the possibility of producing energy in space.

Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner spoke to Shatner after his Blue Origin flight and asked about the prince’s comments. “He’s a lovely Englishman. He’s going to be king of England one day,” Shatner said. “He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.”

“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,” Shatner said.

The actor said we have the technology to send the things to space, and we could “build a base 250, 280 miles above the Earth and send that power down here, and they catch it, and they then use it, and it’s there.”

“All it needs is… somebody as rich as Jeff Bezos [to say], ‘Let’s go up there,'” he said, adding that Prince William is “missing the point.”

“The point is these are the baby steps to show people [that] it’s very practical. You can send somebody like me up into space,” he said. Shatner did say, however, that he agrees with Prince William that there are issues to address on Earth, “but we can curl your hair and put lotion on your face at the same time.”

In other words, space travel can exist along with finding solutions to climate change issues. The prince doesn’t get to tell others how to spend their own money or use their time. The problem with climate change alarmists is that they are suffering from tunnel vision. There is no room to believe that temperature change and weather patterns are often cyclical. Alarmists believe that shutting down entire industries, like the fossil fuel industry, is what must be done to stop the world from ending in 12 years, or whatever the timeline is today. William sounds as though he is slipping into the bad habit of other alarmists- choosing to divide people into good people and bad people over the subject. It should be noted that he never actually named the billionaires, he spoke in general terms. Perhaps he will be a bit more diplomatic than his younger brother in delivering woke talking points. Don’t come for Captain Kirk, Will.

Shatner’s flight was recorded for a documentary. It is reported that he was comped for the price of a ticket to space in exchange for his participation.