Whether the environmental impact of such trips is offset or not — let’s hope they are — this feels like a weird moment for the richest people in the world to direct their outrageous resources toward an endeavor with no immediate benefits to the overwhelming majority of society.
In his book “The Orbital Perspective,” NASA astronaut Ron Garan said that he couldn’t help thinking, as he gazed back upon this “paradise,” of “the nearly one billion people who don’t have clean water to drink, the countless number who go to bed hungry every night, the social injustice, conflicts, and poverty that remain pervasive across the planet.”
If only Richard Branson had paid a little more attention to those who paved the way.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the distance of Branson’s space flight. It was over 100 miles.