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Why Celebrities Are Going to Space —and What it Means for our Future | Arts

Humans have long dreamed of going into space and now the richest and most famous can buy the chance to make that vision a reality. Celebrities like Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Leonardo Dicaprio and James Cameron have all bought tickets for an upcoming space flight. A few weeks ago, “Star Trek” actor and pop culture icon William Shatner was the oldest man to travel into space with Jeff Bezos and his space company Blue Origin. Others, like Billie Eilish, have expressed their desire to do literally everything else.

This new “space mania” began in 2013 when Richard Branson, CEO of space company Virgin Galactic, announced that he was selling seats for a suborbital flight that would take guests 80 miles into the atmosphere of space to the edge of space the span of a few Minutes. Ticket prices rose quickly to $ 200,000, with a star-studded flight list of famous actors, musicians, and billionaires among the first to book their seats. Jeff Bezos’ space mission for wealthy patrons took place aboard the New Shepard ship, which had just launched a few weeks ago with Shatner and several other crew members. Both businessmen apparently foresaw the possible rise of space tourism as an industry funded by the ultra-rich. With the one percent already able to indulge every other whim, who doesn’t say they can’t fly into space too?

Some celebrities chose to purchase tickets for reasons related to the production of their art. Singer and pop star Lady Gaga intends to be the first person to sing in space, and a source told Us Weekly that she plans to take a month of vocal training to prepare for this bizarre experience. Pop singer colleague and ticket holder Justin Bieber even had the possibility of shooting a music video in space.

The idea of ​​harnessing the attraction of space to bolster an artist’s image and connect with their audience in new ways can be seen as a bold and brilliant PR move. After all, many people have dreamed of going into space in one way or another, and the proliferation of space-related content in the media should not be underestimated. William Shatner himself appeared on television for decades as he crossed the “final frontier” as the iconic Captain Kirk before venturing into space for a few minutes. Current trend content in pop culture has also benefited from the fascination of space, from Disney + s space epic “The Mandalorian” to Dua Lipa’s galaxy song “Levitating”.

Frankly, the idea of ​​a music video or a live performance in space is bizarre, if not entirely extravagant and over the top. But perhaps these artists rightly push the boundaries of how they shape society and pop culture by jumping head-on into the starry abyss. Haven’t we given them the role of entertainer, creator, innovator and storyteller of the human experience through our joint investment in their art? Maybe it’s not so wrong that you’re looking for something bigger than yourself.

Other celebrities have admitted that they want to travel into space just to satisfy a personal whim. According to a source, Rihanna told The Hamilton Spectator that she has “been obsessed with space since childhood, so it would be a dream for her to travel on Branson’s rocket”.

Pop star Katy Perry also bought tickets for her husband Russell Brand and herself on board the Virgin Galactic flight. In an interview with MTV News, she said, “I’m so into extraterrestrial things … It’s very difficult for me to look up at the sky in the middle of the night and not think that our planet is one of … a. is Bajillion. ”Her fascination with the mystique of space echoes that of many, even though we have been grounded by the limits of our technology for most of history.

As space becomes relatively more accessible to those who can afford it, the space tourism industry is likely to see a meteoric rise. If you want to travel into space, why not invest more money in research, perhaps sending astronauts on scientific missions or rovers to explore the depths of our solar system? Many rocket launches are also at the expense of the climate, so it may also be wiser to focus on solving these problems on Earth.

Instead, Branson and Bezos, both titans of the space industry, have invested vast amounts of their resources in luxurious commercial spaceflight, offering the wealthy the opportunity to partake in a profound experience inaccessible to most. Space can be explored as really great, but one might wonder if commercializing space travel as a product only available to the ultra-rich will cheapen our collective interaction with this ultimate frontier.

After returning from his sojourn in weightlessness aboard the New Shepard Rocket, Shatner gave some initial thoughts and impressions. He described his own experience as moving, extraordinary and unforgettable, and his words speak of the mysticism of space that sparked the imagination of so many and led humanity to reach this next frontier.

In a video by Shatner outside of the capsule, he is apparently overwhelmed by emotions and struggles with tears as his eyes speak well. “Everyone in the world has to do this. Everyone in the world has to see it. It was incredible, ”he says in the video. “I’ve seen something so emotional about life and death and the destruction of the planet and the preciousness of everything I am connected to.” What he didn’t mention was how his own escape – and space tourism in general – to that destruction could contribute.

It is unfortunate that most of humanity will likely not be able to witness this moving experience, but while Shatner’s words may not come into contact in this regard, his message is still one from which we can learn. The wonder of space so well captured by Shatner’s words could instead serve to pique our interest in exploring this last great frontier.

The idea of ​​experiencing the absoluteness of space can be a profoundly profound and wonderful thing. Still, it is hard to ignore the feeling that our energies and resources should be used primarily for potentially more useful research and the advancement of more pressing, earthly needs. The wonder of space that shaped Shatner’s experiences and the vision of other artists was intended to fund important research rather than indulge in the pleasures of the rich. However, the ultra-rich have always been able to rise us above the rest of us, and perhaps they can still provide us with meaningful insights from their travels in weightlessness. As storytellers and creators of art that tells the truth to human experience, these celebrities can fuel our interest in space by conveying its wonders through words and music.

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