New Delhi: Days after Virgin’s Richard Branson allegedly ‘made history’ by becoming the first billionaire in space, popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson expressed his doubts on the whole matter raising questions if Branson did really fly into space.
DeGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York, in an interview to CNN stated that Richard Branson did not to space. “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. If you don’t go fast enough to reach orbit you will fall and return to Earth,” he said.
The reputed science communicator had some questions of his own like, “So, did you get high enough? Did you go into orbit? Did you actually go anywhere? Did you go to the Moon, to Mars or beyond?”
Further, DeGrasse said, “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. 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.”
Tyson believes that Tesla founder Elon Musk’s orbit project and his aerospace company has more merit.
On July 11, billionaire Richard Branson made the first tourist space flight in history aboard the VSS Unity flight of his company Virgin Galactic. Branson’s so-called feat will be followed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon in less than a week with a ship Blue Origin.