Prince William has ‘wrong idea about space travel’, says William Shatner

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William Shatner raises his hand after returning to Earth on billionaire Jeff Bezos's second suborbital tourism flight - LM Otero
William Shatner raises his hand after returning to Earth on billionaire Jeff Bezos's second suborbital tourism flight - LM Otero

The Duke of Cambridge is a “lovely, gentle, educated man” but has “got the wrong idea about space travel”, William Shatner has said.

The Star Trek actor, who went into space this week at the age of 90, issued a polite rebuke to Prince William, saying he should understand the space race is another step towards saving the planet.

Shatner, known for his role as Captain James T Kirk, lifted off from the Texas desert on Wednesday in a rocket built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space travel company Blue Origin.

In a separate interview with the BBC, pre-recorded but aired the next day, the Duke had said: “I think for me, particularly the idea of this space race that’s on at the moment… we’ve seen everyone trying to get space tourism going... It’s the idea that we need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.

“We need to be focusing on this one rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future.”

In an interview on Friday with Entertainment Tonight, Shatner said Prince William had misunderstood the point of his trip.

“He’s a lovely Englishman,” he said. “He’s going to be king of England one day.

“He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.

“The idea here is not to go, ‘Yeah, look at me. I’m in space.’

“I would tell the Prince, and I hope the Prince gets the message, this is a baby step into the idea of getting industry up there, so that all those polluting industries, especially, for example, the industries that make electricity... off of Earth.

“We’ve got all the technology, the rockets, to send the things up there... You can build a base 250 or 280 miles above the Earth and send that power down here, and they catch it, and they then use it, and it’s there.

“All it needs is... somebody as rich as Jeff Bezos [to say], ‘Let’s go up there’.”

On the idea of fixing the Earth’s climate before moving into space, he added: “So fix some of the stuff down here. But we can curl your hair and put lotion on your face at the same time.”

The Duke’s Earthshot Prize, named in honour of President John F Kennedy’s 1962 “moon shot” speech which inspired the first space race, will be held on Sunday.

It is supported by 11 The Global Alliance Founding Partners, including the Bezos Earth Fund.

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