Saving the World, Six Millionauts at a Time

Space tourism is nigh, but a new space age is not

In a thought-provoking essay, Robert Fortner takes a look at the limitations of SpaceShipTwo as well as the divergent paths of Microsoft co-founders Paul Allen and Bill Gates. Allen is a major force behind space tourism, while Gates is focused on more down-to-Earth concerns.

“The space evangelists seek to transcend the present and this earth in an almost religious fashion. According to their creed, humankind will overcome its imperfections in the heavens, rising above mere terrestrial concerns in themselves paltry and base. Philosophically, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation stands in diametric opposition to rocket building. The Gateses seek to make heaven on Earth, directing science, technology, and the market toward more immediate service to humanity, particularly the most wretched of the earth.”