Star Trek actor William Shatner is not on the same page as Prince William when it comes to space tourism. During a new interview with the BBC Thursday, William said billionaires who are focusing on sending tourists to space should be spending their money on curbing climate change. Shatner, 90, became the oldest person to travel to space on Wednesday when he was among the four passengers on a Blue Origin spaceflight Wednesday. Blue Origin was founded by Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos.
"He's a lovely Englishman. He's going to be king of England one day," Shatner told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday. "He's a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he's got the wrong idea." The actor disagreed with the idea that billionaires are only going to space to say they've been there.
"I would tell the prince, and I hope the prince gets the message, this is a baby step into the idea of getting industry up there, so that all those polluting industries, especially, for example, the industries that make electricity... off of Earth," Shatner told ET. "We've got all the technology, the rockets, to send the things up there... You can build a base 250, 280 miles above the Earth and send that power down here, and they catch it, and they then use it, and it's there. All it needs is... somebody as rich as Jeff Bezos [to say], 'Let's go up there.'"
Shatner believes William is "missing the point" of space tourism, suggesting that these flights are just "baby steps" in the process of making spaceflight "practical" for everyone. "Of course" Shatner agrees with the Duke of Cambridge that there are issues to be solved on Earth, but we could address those at the same time as we explore space travel. "So fix some of the stuff down here... But we can curl your hair and put lotion on your face at the same time," he said.
During an interview with the BBC's Newscast on Thursday, Willaim said he believed the "greatest brains and minds" should be focused on "trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live." The prince added that it would be an "absolute disaster" if his son Prince George was still talking about ways to save the planet 30 years from now. He pointed out there was a "rise in climate anxiety" among young people because their "futures are basically threatened" by climate change.
Shatner went to space on the Blue Origin flight NS-18, alongside Blue Origin vice president of mission and flight operations Aubrey Powers, former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, and Dassault Systemes executive Glen de Vries. Shatner flew as a guest of the company and did not pay for the trip. "What you have given me is the most profound experience," Shatner told Bezos after the flight. "I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it."