“Space? We have a lot to do here on Earth”, were the words of Bill Gates in response to a question from James Corden during the last interview. Corden questioned the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft about some billionaires’ interest in space travel, but it seems Gates is more interested in getting rid of diseases like malaria and HIV before thinking about building life on other planets.
“I’ve become obsessed with things like malaria and HIV and getting rid of those diseases, and I’ve gotten to bore people at parties by just talking to them about diseases,” Gates said. The interview was conducted via Zoom as part of a special “Climate Night” edition of the “Late Late Show with James Corden” on Wednesday. During the interview, the comedian thanked Gates for “being the only billionaire who is not trying to escape from Earth in a spaceship”.
Gates’ comment comes at a time when Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are wasting much of their efforts to expand man’s presence in space. SpaceX has completed the first in-orbit mission composed exclusively of civilians, Inspiration4, Bezos and Richard Branson have made the first flights into space inside their respective private aircraft. But what does space have to do with climate problems on Earth?
Gates teases Musk and Bezos: it is better to fight malaria and HIV on Earth than to travel to space
In reality, there is a strong connection: both Bezos and Musk intend to use the consequences in space to compensate for the problems of climate change on Earth. Musk in this case plans to colonize Mars, Bezos wants to mobilize high-pollution industries on other planets. All in a context of strong opposition: in recent days, for example, the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has criticized the huge expenses made for space travel, while “millions meet fame on Earth”.
Both Bezos and Musk have responded in the past to strong criticism of what may appear to be billionaire whims. Bezos partly agrees with the opponents, but also stated that “we have to do both”: “We have many problems here on earth, we have to work on those but we also have to look to the future, we have always done it as a species and as a civilization” , her words.
Musk has never traveled to space, at least until today, but he was critical of his SpaceX. His comment on this can be found in a Netflix documentary on Inspiration4: “I think we spend the vast amount of our resources to solve problems on Earth. For example, 99% of our economy should be dedicated to solving problems on Earth. But I also believe it is worth investing at least 1%, or even less than 1%, for life beyond the Earth. “
On the other hand, the equally billionaire Gates has shown a radical approach: years with the Gates Foundation he invests hundreds of millions of dollars in public health, risking to fight malaria and HIV, or even fighting diseases for equity on the anti covid-19 vaccine. .