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Elon Musk shares poem about people who ‘attack space’ amid race between billionaires

·2-min read
Elon Musk-SolarCity Lawsuit (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Elon Musk-SolarCity Lawsuit (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Elon Musk has shared a poem about people who “attack space”, as the billionaire race to leave the Earth continues.

While Mr Musk did not explicitly name the people the poem was aimed at, it comes amid increasing criticism of billionaires who use their vast wealth to fund trips into space rather than fix problems at home.

Such criticism has been made of Richard Branson, who took a flight on board his Virgin Galactic spaceplane over the weekend. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will also ride one of his Blue Origin rockets on 20 July, and has been the subject of much of the same concern.

Both Mr Branson and Mr Bezos have looked to push their flights as inspiring people on Earth, as well as promoting their space tourism ventures.

Mr Musk took a similar approach with his poem, in which he said that “space represents hope” and pushed back against people who express scepticism towards such ventures.

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The poem is an echo of previous statements by Mr Musk, including suggestions that his plans to live on Mars are part of a broad plan to make life “multiplanetary” and ensure its survival.

Mr Musk, who reportedly has a ticket to ride on board Mr Branson’s Unity 22 spaceplane, also seemed to give his backing to Mr Branson’s rhetoric around the new space race. He replied in the affirmitive to a tweet that shared a video from the Virgin founder’s trip alongside a quote from XKCD creator Randall Munroe.

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He had sent similarly supportive tweets to Mr Branson, with the two sharing approving messages on Twitter and Mr Musk travelling to Virgin Galactic’s Spaceport America for the weekend’s launch.

But as that new space race continues, and Mr Musk posts his verse, some have pointed to another poem to criticise the growing race between those various space-focused billionaires. An article in Vice this week pointed to Gil Scott-Heron’s spoken word piece ‘Whitey on the Moon’, written in 1970 and criticising the fact that while some were walking on the Moon others were still living in poverty on Earth.

Others have used more novel methods to criticise the growing race among billionaires to travel into space on board private rockets.

A viral petition, for instance, calls for Jeff Bezos to be banned from returning to Earth after his trip. It had been signed almost 160,000 times on Tuesday.

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