Shatner: Prince William Is 'Lovely' but Wrong

He says Blue Origin voyages are 'baby steps' toward greater things after prince's criticism
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 14, 2021 11:28 AM CDT
Updated Oct 15, 2021 6:55 AM CDT
Prince William Calls Out Rich Men's Race to Space
In this July 16, 2020 photo, Britain's Prince William speaks with service users during a visit to the Garden House in Peterborough, England.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, file)

Update: William Shatner says Prince William is a "lovely, gentle, educated man"—but he's got the "wrong idea" about space tourism. After the prince said the world's greatest minds should focus on fixing problems on Earth, Shatner told Entertainment Tonight that trips like his Wednesday Blue Origin voyage were about a lot more than saying, "Yeah, look at me. I'm in space." Shatner said the trips were "baby steps" toward showing that space travel is practical and polluting industries can be shifted into orbit. The 90-year-old added that while he doesn't like be reminded that he is the oldest person to go to space, the voyage made him reflect on his mortality and the future his children and his children's children will face. Our original story from Thursday follows:

Britain's Prince William has criticized some of the world's richest men for using their wealth to fund a new space race and space tourism rather than trying to fix the problems on Earth instead. William voiced his disapproval in an interview with the BBC aired Thursday, a day after the former Star Trek actor William Shatner became the oldest man to fly to space, in a rocket funded by Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who is also the founder of Amazon, per the AP. Billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson are also pumping resources into their own space ambitions via SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, respectively.

But "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," said William. Asked whether he would like to become a space tourist, the former Royal Air Force helicopter pilot said, "I have absolutely no interest in going that high." The Duke of Cambridge was speaking about climate change ahead of his inaugural Earthshot environmental prize awards ceremony on Sunday and two weeks before a UN climate summit starts in the Scottish city of Glasgow at the end of the month.

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William, who has been immersed in environmental issues all his life through the strong interest of his father, Prince Charles, and his late grandfather, Prince Philip, voiced his worries about the world his own children will inherit. "Young people now are growing up where their futures are basically threatened the whole time," he said. "It's very unnerving and … anxiety-making." (More Prince William stories.)

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