Editor: Increasing cost of raising aspirations or just pure silly?

One rich man went to space, and then another, and then another. They just can’t seem to stop themselves these days.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 6:40 am
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket launches carrying passengers Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and space tourism company Blue Origin, brother Mark Bezos, Oliver Daemen and Wally Funk, from its spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

First it was Virgin boss Richard Branson to achieve his dream a few days ago. Then it was Jeff Bezos yesterday who spent $550 dollars per minute travelling.

It was a wild 11-minute right which took him just 66 miles into space – but at least that was 13 miles more than Branson’s weekend jaunt. You might think Sheffield buses are expensive and rarely get you home in such a short time, but these bills are eye-watering.

Experiencing weightlessness is one thing but that distance is only a little more than the Round Sheffield Walk four times.

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There are already plans in place for electric car guru Elon Musk to follow in their footsteps. We would expect no less.

Imagine the combined cost of those three outings – they were hardly even daytrips.

Nothing wrong with that, you might say. It is their money and they can do what they want with it. Of course, that is factually correct and we have all seen the result. But is it morally the right option?

Everybody wants to achieve their dreams but it seems that the richer people get, the more obscenely costly the bill.

There are millions who are fascinated by space and who would give anything to make that journey themselves. There are few who will ever have that opportunity.

Yet we shouldn’t discount the inspiration that such crazy ventures can bring to young generations of engineers and inventors. It goes far beyond astronauts and just takes a spark of magic to fill budding brains with energy and enthusiasm for what they themselves could achieve in the future.

So here’s to raising the aspirations of the young. I hope those who end up with a disproportionate amount of the world’s wealth think very carefully about others when they undertake whatever folly takes their fancy.

Ask any of the thousands of Sheffielders who spend what little time they have spare undertaking volunteer work and they will confirm that there is an incredible, unique buzz to helping others. I’m not saying it is better than going into space because, after all, how would most of us normal folk ever know?