Recent rocket passengerWilliam Shatner responded to Prince William’s criticism of space tourism for the wealthy while the Earth continues to be plagued by environmental problems.
Shatner, 90, became the oldest individual ever to fly into space on Wednesday when he rocketed out of Earth’s atmosphere with three other passengers aboard the New Shepard NS-18 ship, built by Blue Origin, the company founded by Amazon’s billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos.
The Duke of Cambridge slammed such flights as abandoning Earth and exacerbating pollution here.
“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,” the prince told the BBC when asked about climate change in an interview that aired Thursday. “It really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space.”
The prince added that there is the “fundamental question” of the space flights’ carbon cost, and he noted that he has “absolutely no interest” in going to space.
“If we’re not careful we’re robbing from our children’s future through what we do now. And I think that’s not fair,” he said.
But Prince William has “got the wrong idea,” Shatner told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday.
“The idea here is not to go, ‘Yeah, look at me. I’m in space,’” the legendary actor said. “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 … off of Earth.”
The actor said operations could be built “250, 280 miles above the Earth” to then “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,’” Shatner said, adding again 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,” the actor said.
Shatner said he agreed with the prince that there are issues that must be addressed on Earth, “but we can curl your hair and put lotion on your face at the same time,” he added.
Shatner, who was very emotionalafter his 10-minute flight, said it was incredibly special, like “holding your child for the first time.”
That’s an “overwhelming experience, and I had that experience,” he said.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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