The world’s latest space tourist, Charles Simonyi, a Microsoft Word developer, has just connected with the international space station. This got me thinking: If I had that kind of money what would I do? Well first off I won’t even get onto a commercial airliner due to an acute fear of flying so space travel is definitely out for me. Despite that I’m just not that sure that viewing the earth from above within the vastness of nothing else is really that big a buzz but then again I am very different to a lot of folk.
I’m not sure how much the trip has cost Charles but going on past incidents (term used appropriately I think as space travel for tourists must surely be an accident) I would imagine that the figure was somewhere around US $20 million. There are a lot of things that 20 million could do and help you be remembered for more than a space tourist. There are so many charities, so much poverty, so much community outreach that could benefit from that money. Now I’m not one of these deluded folk who thinks that all rich people should give away all their money to charity, I too have possessions that I spent money on instead of giving to charity. There’s just something about space travel that seems a little futile to me. You spend 20 million dollars and when you get back all that you can say was that you saw the earth from above and nothing else that one cannot see from the ground. You might even experience violent discomfort from g-forces and possibly feel quite ill. It’s a bit like climbing to the top of a famous monument, you’ll see something a little differently but nobody will remember you for it and ultimately its just another image in your memory that you’ll probably confuse with a postcard or perhaps a photo in National Geographic. I just don’t get it. So what would I do with a spare 20 million, well its obvious, no? I’d buy my Ferrari F355, tour Ireland, possibly take it on the boat to the UK, tunnel to Europe and take back more memories and images than any space tourist could ever achieve and when I got home I’d still have enough money to do more good than most people would ever contemplate – not entirely selfless but I’d be a millionaire with the millionaire lifestyle and people might actually like me for the good I tried to do. source: Slashdot
Your afraid of flying ? Jesus you really do learn something new everyday !
I thought a modern man like yourself would have no such reservations !?!?!?
20 Million spare .. mmmmm donuts …
I wonder how much this contributes to keeping the Russian space programme afloat?
As for the “do good with it instead” thought I’d say it is relative. I flew to South Africa over Christmas and spent a month on holiday. All the money I spent on that trip could have helped clothe and feed many people in 3rd world countries, even in my own home country.
Everyday we spend money we could rationally argue would be better spent helping others.
“Every pint we drink.”
I don’t know the answer, it is a tough, guilt laden problem.
Junior: yup you’d think a modern lad like myself wouldn’t mind but alas there are still some things that beat the logical section of my brain.
Paul: completely agreed, such was my meager attempt to say that nobody is completely selfless. I guess I ended up lost in my own opinion of space tours rather than the argument for better use of funds. It’s an impossible conundrum, possibly NP complete, to solve as to how human nature constantly avoids human compassion. As I say, I have many possessions myself that would better serve the world but I choose to have them. I always thought that a vast amount of wealth would enable possessions in addition to the freedom to help others. Perhaps that is akin to having one’s cake and also eating it; perhaps not possible…