Space Tourism – The Last Frontier for Super-rich Narcissists

Alas, the owner of Amazon will blast into space on his company-built rocket along with his brother and the winner of an online auction. It will be a suborbital, eleven-minute flight like the earliest days of NASA space travel with the Mercury capsules. Other private companies are gearing up for space tourism too. Just imagine the bragging rights at a cocktail party,

But just because we CAN do something, SHOULD we? It is true that commercial aviation consumes only 2-5% of the fossil fuels that automobiles and trucks do. Global space exploration, satellite launches and now, tourism is on the order of .02-.05% of vehicular-burned greenhouse gases. So, what’s the big deal?

Plenty. By 2050, projected increases in space tourism will deplete the ozone layer far worse than CFCs (Chlorinated Fluoro-Carbons banned globally in 1986) ever did. The ozone layer is the protective shield in our atmosphere preventing cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation from the sun from reaching the surface of our fragile planet where we live. Losing the ozone layer is a big deal. Losing it so that a handful of ultra-rich people can brag at cocktail parties is pathetic.

Then there is the issue of aluminum oxide and soot particles that rockets inject directly into the stratosphere. Scientists are not sure of the impact, but it is not likely to be beneficial. Finally, there is the issue of space junk. NASA tracks 500,000 piece of man-made space debris bigger than 0.5 inches. We know that below a half inch in size, there are millions of particles. A piece of metal the size of a BB traveling at orbital speeds of 17,000 mph packs the same punch as a fully loaded 18-wheeler traveling 70 mph on the highway. Do you remember the terrifying scene in the movie Gravity?

Scientists today are referring to our Near-Earth Orbital shell as a Superfund site due to the debris there now. In 30 years, multiply the space debris problem by 100 or 1,000. Multiply stratospheric pollution by 100 or 1,000. Now eliminate the ozone layer and cause millions of skin cancer deaths. Sacrifice the lives of millions on the altar of narcissism.

Where did we get that term for the toxic, totally self-absorbed person? This is from Wikipedia.

“In Greek mythology, Narcissus a hunter who was known for his beauty. According to one account, he rejected all romantic advances, eventually falling in love with his own reflection in a pool of water, staring at it for the remainder of his life. After he died, in his place sprouted a flower bearing his name.

The character of Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself. This quality, in turn, defines narcissistic personality disorder, a condition marked by grandiosity, excessive need for admiration, and an inability to empathize.”

God, save us from the narcissists before they destroy the rest of us.

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