Just how much carbon does blasting into space add to the upper atmosphere? We should slap a huge luxury tax on space tourism. Re “After Branson flight, Virgin Galactic slumps on stock sale” (July 13): The uber wealthy are undertaxed and so are free to indulge in conspicuous consumption. The newest fad for billionaires rubbing our collective noses in it is space travel.
The multi-millions that billionaires Branson, Bezos, and Musk are spending on space explorations is simply ego flattery for them. The money could be better spent here on Earth to better serve humanity.
Bob SchmidtLa Jolla
Fred J. HeskeAlpine
The U-T welcomes and encourages community dialogue on important public matters.
Re “Don’t call Richard Branson a billionaire. After his spaceflight, call him entrepreneur and pioneer.” (July 12): You say, don’t call them billionaires first, call them pioneers. Well they aren’t pioneers. The test X-2 pilot, in 1956 who went more than 100,000 feet was a pioneer, dubbed America’s first spaceman. The guy who broke the sound barrier in 1946, Chuck Yaeger, or Yuri Gagarin, first Earth orbit in 1961, 60 years ago who did the first Earth orbit was a pioneer. The first man, Lance Armstrong, on the moon was a pioneer. Father Joe, housing all homeless facilities in one place, was a pioneer.
These new sub-orbital, barely space, space passengers are just big-money owners with some vision — but not pilots, or builders, doing something that hasn’t been done before. If they land on Mars first, they’ll be pioneers. Otherwise, let them just play around and do something new, so far they haven’t broken any barriers, no frontiers to be recognized, except by other residents of The Hamptons, maybe.
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