Raul Freitas

Up, Up, and Away

astronaut-against-realistic-planet-earth-starlight-2021-08-29-03-57-26-utc - milenio stadium



 Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of our immature, narcissistic, spoiled, uber-rich boys. The mission, to bask endlessly in the spotlight and use as much of other people’s money as possible, in order to net some uber profits in the not-so-distant future. But seriously, no, wait, that was serious, that’s what’s happening today. The one percent are now seeing that their club isn’t as exclusive as they would like.

Today’s terms like “rich” and “wealthy” no longer foot the bill for that one percent that have been stuffing their mattresses much more frequently as of late. The media now uses “ultra” and “super” ahead of “rich” because being a millionaire these days is so pre covid. It’s become so mundane for the “ultras” many go to great lengths to distance themselves from the rest. This week’s space travel topic speaks exactly to what I’m referring. Boys like Branson and Musk, among others, are blowing countless simoleons on reaching for the sky, and certain governments seem only too happy to help cover the costs. I’m sure most of us wonder what is so attractive about Mars, for instance. Yes, expanding our knowledge of the universe and its many wonders is a very important goal.
There are many questions that might be answered, but these guys are not in it for mankind. People like this have only future profits in mind; it’s either that or just boys playing with their toys, which is just as plausible. I know I can come off as a cynic at times, but I can’t help but wonder why these people don’t seek recognition and respect from all of us and not just their neighbours.

There’s a whole world rife with complications needing to be solved, problems that affect all 100%. The kind of cash they hold, most of which they just accumulate through the markets on a daily basis, could actually do so much good used on the planet, and not trying to escape it. Governments are just as bad, seeking to distract their audience from the issues that plague them. Much like the illusion of fear they create in us, so they can go about their business without much interference. We all realize that there’s a lot to be done right here and it makes no sense to venture out into the cosmos, when you don’t even know enough about your own turf.
Last week, when Musk’s rocket blew itself out of the sky, I watched incredulously at their Mission Control people applauding a successful mission! It blew up, but they claimed that it was mostly a data gathering attempt. Seriously? You didn’t hope it would fly? That was a very well staged reaction, to my mind undoubtedly performed for the investing partners, which include governments. Musk must have had Branson on the brain. Mr. Branson’s Virgin Orbit filed for bankruptcy about a month ago, after funding dried up due to a failed launch, (although I’m sure he’ll find his way back into the sandbox). So yeah, the ultra-rich now have more money than many countries and they’re not afraid to throw it around. They are the new super-heroes and they’re going off into space. This reminds me of the comments over Jeff Bezos’ trip to the stratosphere, where many hoped that he would just keep going. Send me a postcard, Elon.
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Raul Freitas/MS

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