Prince William: Whitehorn on importance of space exploration
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The Duke of Cambridge has been urged to consider “technological solutions” by a former space boss, following his comments on space tourism and climate change. During an interview with BBC Newscast, Prince William suggested entrepreneurs should focus on saving planet Earth, instead of investing in space travel and tourism. In a discussion on talkRadio, Kevin O’Sullivan said the future king’s attitude “worries me”, as he branded the future of space as a “forward-thinking” alternative.
Speaking on talkRadio, host Kevin O’Sullivan said: “The mindset of people like Prince William that worries me is because they want everything to be invested in that way of thinking, and they don’t want anything to be invested in forward-thinking, like space projects.”
In response, the former president of Virgin Galactic Will Whitehorn said: “The problem is, if we look at the issue we face, in the very time period that The Earthshot Prize has been developed by Prince William, President Xi in China has authorised 25 new coal-fired power stations for China.
“That makes all the efforts that we make in terms of wind and solar on the planet at the moment, almost redundant at the level that fossil fuels are still being burned in big industrial productions to produce basically all of the internet server farms that we use.
“Therefore, Prince William has to think of technological solutions, and technological solutions rely in the future on going to space, and industrialising.”
Prince William made the comments regarding space tourism during an in-depth interview with BBC Newscast, which was focused on his inaugural Earthshot Prize.
The future king gave a warning about the rising “climate anxiety” within the younger generation, and spoke of his desire to “create postivity” around the climate change debate.
Speaking of the current space race, Prince William said: “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.
“I think that ultimately is what sold it for me – that really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future.”
Prince William says climate change 'positivity' has been 'missing'
His comments come a day after Hollywood actor William Shatner became the oldest person to go to space, as he travelled in a Blue Origin sub-orbital capsule that had been developed by billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Multi-billionaires Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson are also in the process of building up their space businesses.
The Duke of Cambridge also said he had “absolutely no interest” in travelling to space, and questioned the carbon costs of space flights.
He was interviewed by the BBC to discuss The Earthshot Prize, which he launched with Sir David Attenborough last year.
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The name of the Prize was inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s ‘Moonshot’ ambition during the 1960s, where he pledged to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
On Sunday, Prince William will attend an awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, alongside a number of celebrity performers and presenters. Famous names such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Emma Watson have been announced as attendees, with Coldplay’s performance being powered by 60 cyclists.
Five winners will each win £1million to progress with their innovative solutions to tackling the climate change crisis.
The 15 finalists have been selected from across the globe, with a coral farming project from the Bahamas, a water treatment plant from Japan and a sanitation solution from Kenya in the running for the top prizes.
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