First things first, we must celebrate that Jeff Bezos’ spacewalk aboard the New Shepard has been a success and that all its occupants have returned to Earth with a more open mind and in good health. It is one thing that one can be more or less for or against this space tourism, but what I think we will all agree on is that we do not want this new space race to suddenly end in a catastrophe.
As with Richard Branson after his flight a few weeks ago, everyone was waiting for the first statements from Jeff Bezos after living such a unique experience. And it is undoubted that we are talking about a unique experience, and any testimony about it can be most interesting. However, as Gizmodo reviews, the billionaire has experienced an effect that seems to be common, but has come to a conclusion that it is not at all.
It is often said that flying in space and being able to see the Earth from the outside, as well as a perfect opportunity to take photos with which to disconcert flat earthers, provides a very different perspective on our planet. And it is that, from our point of view, the Earth is huge (well, and it really is quite large) but, observed from space, it becomes much smaller and, above all, fragile. This is something that many astronauts share and it is totally understandable. It has also happened to Jezz Bezos.
Thus, as a consequence of perceiving said fragility, many of them become great defenders of the environment, of clean energies, of avoiding the abuse of natural resources, in short, they become more protective of the Planet that, for a few minutes, hours or days they have been able to fully contemplate. Thus, it is not a surprise that Jeff Bezos has returned from space with a different vision of our planet and with a desire to take care of it.
Up to this point everything is correct, one could almost say that it was a manual, but the surprise came when, in an interview, he stated that the challenge we must face is to relocate all polluting industries off Earth. And yes, he meant it, the key for Jeff Bezos is not to make those industries less polluting, to research new materials, and so on. No, the key is to transfer the pollution to cold space.
And beyond that, technically, Jeff Bezos’ proposal today is inconceivable, reminds a bit of those policies, on the part of the first world, of creating large dumps of polluting products in more remote (and poor) regions of the world, which will already deal with them. His proposal is to relocate pollution, instead of working to improve the industrial sector. And yes, I agree that this is very complicated, it requires decades of research, investments, etc., but the needs to start producing in space are similar or even greater.
We can laugh at it, which is actually what most of the world (and I include myself) will surely have done, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the prospect of a future like the one longed for by Jeff Bezos, can serve to justify the current excesses, which would be justified with a “well, this is only until I can do the same but in space.” And that already seems a little more serious and more worrying to me. Therefore, it is better to turn a deaf ear to his proposal, and that science and industry continue to work hand in hand to protect our planet without transferring our pollution to space.