Over 1,000 people can’t be wrong, can they?
That’s how many people posted mostly negative comments about Richard Branson’s plan to become an astronaut, which he posted on LinkedIn.
Calling himself the first astronaut, the famous entrepreneur was met by derision and mockery. “What a bizarre post,” said one follower.
The more business-focused social media platform is usually a safe haven for most of us, but comments on Branson’s post included quite a few barbs.
One commenter said: “[You’re] wasting money for expensive rich space toys instead of fixing broken health care.” “One can only hope that the super-rich make their way to another planet,” said another.
Most of the pushback is about how much money the space voyages will cost and how entitled it all seems to most of us, who will most likely remain earthbound.
Recently, Jeff Bezos faced a similar firestorm when he announced plans to go to space. There’s a petition now with 148,657 signatures calling for the now former Amazon chief to stay in space and not return.
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It’s a sign of the times that so many people would be happy to catapult the guy into the nether region for good. (The petition suggests that billionaires should not exist.)
What’s really going on here?
For starters, there’s a sense that these space ventures have entitlement written all over them. It’s one thing to develop a mission meant to address scientific challenges, which is the direction NASA has obviously gone in recent decades.
If space is the final frontier, it also seems like real astronauts who have studied and prepared their entire lives should be the ones climbing aboard.
Even if their companies (Bezos and Blue Origin, Branson and Virgin Galactic) are trying to drum up more support, it doesn’t feel that way.
To me, the backlash on social media is warranted because it seems like these are rich and bored billionaires who want to fulfill a personal dream to go to space without really offering much else. There are more pressing problems, including recovering from the pandemic, addressing the economy, and fixing the housing crisis as prices continue to soar.
We don’t need a distraction like this. What we actually need is for the most famous celebrities to join the cause down here on the planet where many of us are struggling to figure out how to get back to some semblance of normal.
Rocket ships and billionaires? No thanks.