Shatner, who blasted into space earlier this week on one of Amazon (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos’ rockets, said the British royal has “got the wrong idea” by saying that solving problems on Earth should be prioritized over tourist trips to space.
“He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea,” Shatner said during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “The idea here is not to go, ‘Yeah, look at me. I’m in space,’” Shatner added, claiming that trips such as his represent a “baby step” toward relocating polluting industries to space.
The 90-year-old “Star Trek” actor said that a power generating base could be constructed 250 miles above the Earth and used to supply homes and businesses below. “The prince is missing the point,” he added.
“All it needs is… somebody as rich as Jeff Bezos [to say], ‘Let’s go up there.’”
Without mentioning names, William criticized billionaires focused on space tourism in an interview Thursday with the BBC, saying they should invest more time and money in saving Earth. Bezos, SpaceX boss Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson are all taking tourists to space.
“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 the prince.
The second-in-line to the British throne stated that he had “absolutely no interest” in going to space. He also expressed concerns over the environmental impact of space tourism, saying there was a “fundamental question” over the carbon cost of space flights.
Shatner became the oldest person ever to travel to space when his vessel — a suborbital space tourism rocket built by Blue Origin — brushed the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere and vaulted him into weightlessness. Shatner described the payoff of floating above the Earth as “profound.”
The actor said that space travel is not something a person can understand until “you’re up there and you see the black darkness, the ugliness.”
“From our point of view, space is filled with mystery … but in that moment, it is blackness and death. In this moment down here, as we look down, [Earth] is life and nurturing. That’s what everybody needs to know,” Shatner told CNN after his flight.