tech2 News StaffJul 23, 2021 10:25:35 IST
Recently, billionaire Jeff Bezos flew to the edge of space on his aerospace company Blue Origin’s rocket. He also took with him his brother Mark, an 82-year-old female pilot Wally Funk that NASA rejected from its space program, and the first paying customer – an 18-year-old named Oliver Daemen.
Not long ago, another billionaire Sir Richard Branson also went to space on a plane specially designed by his aerospace company. And both the times the internet erupted in memes, jokes and snide remarks.
Many known personalities also joined in the billionaire bashing that took place.
One of them was astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. He spared time to explain to people just how rich the former Amazon CEO is.
In a tweet on 19 July, Tyson said that with Bezos being worth about $200 billion, if one were to stack that money, it would reach higher than the altitude his rocket went.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) July 19, 2021
For the uninitiated, Bezos flew 106 km high, a little higher than the Karman line. It is known as the imaginary boundary line that separates Earth’s atmosphere. The entire trip took 10 minutes with the occupants of the first human spaceflight of the New Shepherd rocket spending only three minutes in space.
The rocket launched at 6.42 pm IST after which the booster separated from the crew capsule and landed a few meters away from the launch site. The crew capsule then landed 10 minutes later after three parachutes helped them in landing.
This is not the first time Tyson has taken a dig at Bezos’ extraordinary wealth. In August 2020, he said Bezos’s net worth could wrap around the Earth 180 times. It can then go to the Moon and back 30 times. With whatever is leftover, it can be stacked 10 kilometres high into the sky.
Not that anybody asked, but laid end-to-end @JeffBezos‘ 200-Billion dollars can encircle Earth 180 times, then reach the Moon & back 30 times — and with what’s left over, make a stack 10 kilometers high.￼ pic.twitter.com/y7TPJQnWWR
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) August 28, 2020
Tyson had also said that neither Branson nor Bezos actually went to space since it was a suborbital flight.
He told CNN, “First of all, it was suborbital. NASA did it 60 years ago with Alan Shepard, took off from Cape Canaveral and landed in the ocean.”
A suborbital flight, according to aerospace engineer John Horack, means that while these vehicles will cross the ill-defined boundary of space, they will not be going fast enough to stay in space once they get there.
“It’s okay if you want to call it ‘space,’ because average humans haven’t gotten there before and it’s a first for you. That’s why it takes eight minutes to get into orbit and three days to reach the moon,” Tyson said
“That is actually space travel. So I don’t see it as ‘oh, let’s go into space’. No. What you are going to have is a nice view of the Earth.”
He also said, “I don’t even know if you are going to see the curvature. I did some calculations and I think not. If you are two millimetres from the surface of this globe, you don’t have the full perspective. It is a visual effect that you get from 50 miles up (nearly 80 km). So have fun.”