Bill Gates, during his recent appearance on a late-night American talk show, was asked about his thoughts on billionaires investing in space travel and in response, he said he had become obsessed with eradication diseases here on earth rather than through space.
James Corden, host of The Late Late Show with James Corden, welcomed Gates to his show earlier on September 23 to talk about the climate crisis. However, what started out as a casual joke ended with a response from Gates, which the host called “the classiest burn.”
Corden opened the speech by thanking Gates for being “the billionaire who isn’t trying to escape planet Earth on a spaceship just yet”. When asked why billionaires are “obsessed with” space travel right now, Gates’ response was “I don’t know. I became obsessed with things like malaria and HIV and eliminating these diseases and I would probably bore people at cocktails talking about diseases. Space? You know, we have a lot to do here on earth. During the remainder of the interview, Gates called for optimism and the combined efforts of all to tackle the climate crisis.
Corden’s reference in his question to Gates apparently relates to recent space flights by billionaires Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group in July. Another billionaire, Jared Issacman, also led the Inspiration4 mission, which has been described as “the world’s first fully civilian orbital mission to space.” The flight was on a Dragon capsule and a SpaceX rocket built by fellow billionaire Elon Musk. While the contributions of these missions to space exploration have been widely appreciated, they have also been the subject of some criticism.
Earlier in the week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during his opening address to the United Nations General Assembly, denounced the divide between the rich and the poor with “billionaires traveling the world. space while millions of people are hungry on Earth “.
However, both Bezos and Musk have defended their decisions and acknowledged the criticisms against them. Bezos said his critics were “largely right” and said “We have to do both. We have a lot of problems here and now on Earth and we have to work on it and we also have to look to the future, we have always done that as a species and as a civilization. We have to do both, ”he said earlier in July, quoting the Guardian.
Meanwhile, Musk, who hasn’t been to space yet, said, “I think we should be devoting the vast majority of our resources to solving problems on Earth. Like, over 99% of our economy should be devoted to solving problems on earth, ”in a Netflix documentary on Inspiration4. “But I think maybe something like 1%, or less than 1%, could be applied to extend life beyond earth,” he added.