Jeff Bezos has stepped down as chief executive of Amazon, handing over the reins as the tech giant navigates the challenges of a world fighting to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. He now has his eyes focused on interstellar affairs.
Bezos, Amazon’s biggest shareholder with a stake worth about 180 billion dollars (£130 billion), will still hold sway over the company he started in his Seattle garage in 1995. But for the time being, he’s got other things on his mind. On 20 July, Bezos is flying to space on the New Shepard rocket, built by his space venture Blue Origin.
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space. On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend. #GradatimFerociter,” Bezos wrote on Instagram.
“To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity, it’s one Earth,” Bezos continued in the video. “I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me. I’ve invited my brother to come on this first flight because we’re closest friends.”
But a petition has been signed by well over 150,000 people who are keen for the richest person on the planet to stay in space once he is up there, the description of which reads, “Billionaires should not exist…on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter, they should stay there.”
If that wasn’t enough, Jeff has competition. Never one to shy away from publicity, billionaire Richard Branson said he will beat the Amazon founder into leaving the planet.
Branson, who announced his plans last week, described on NBC’s “Today” show what it could be like once one of his dreams is realised, saying when he and his crew “become astronauts, I will pinch myself and pinch myself again and again.”
This ‘space race’ left one scamp to tweet: “We’re only a few weeks away from potentially having TWO billionaires trapped in space forever.”
We’re only a few weeks away from potentially having TWO billionaires trapped in space forever. 🙏— scott (@ScottGWrites) July 7, 2021
It seems billionaires spending obscene amounts of money to get into space has enraged plenty of us mere mortals on Earth, as we deal with Covid, economic meltdown, Brexit and so on.
This billionaire space race is nothing but a dick measuring contest. pic.twitter.com/LOKHiHmpGO— Occupy Centrelink (@OccupyMyGov) July 7, 2021
Jeff Bezos is leaving Amazon today, in part to work on Blue Origin (beat the other billionaires to space)— ✡️💗BohoGirlResists💗✡️ (@KikiAdine) July 5, 2021
What if we lived in a world where they were in a race to cure cancer? End homelessness? Rid the world of gun violence or violence against women?
This is why we’re so fucked
We’re sending billionaires to the space but printers still don’t work reliabliy something isn’t right— Elvin 🌈 (OLED model) (@elvin_not_11) July 3, 2021
the existence of a space race between billionaires is a clear sign these people aren’t being taxed nearly enough. https://t.co/OxIcFwmRaS— Oliver Willis (@owillis) July 1, 2021
I really keep wondering if I’m missing something. Is climate change not a thing? Do billionaires just not care? Do they not know? Like…. I’m genuinely confused.— TY (@truthy_ty) July 2, 2021
The system that creates space billionaires is the system that lets 1 in 6 kids go hungry, almost half the country be poor/low income, half a million to be homeless, and 68,000 to die every year because they can’t afford healthcare.— Rebecca Parson for Congress, WA-06 (@RebeccaforWA) July 5, 2021
Workers: We make the world run. We deserve dignity, respect, higher wages, and a better life.— CWA (@CWAUnion) July 3, 2021
Billionaires: space rockets go burr
Hey. Whenever these megalomaniac billionaires and their cultish corporations shovel this PR nonsense about these space flights being inspiring or groundbreaking just remember how many schools went unfunded, people died without healthcare, and bridges collapsed for these ego-trips— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) July 6, 2021