Surprise – the man who ‘jumped from space’ doesn’t like space exploration
When Felix Baumgartner made his historic jump from the “edge of space” at about 39 kilometres (24 miles) above the Earth a couple of weeks ago, he was branded a hero. Perhaps deservedly so, becoming the first person to break the speed of sound outside of an airplane or spacecraft, and skydiving from the highest altitude yet achieved. While some people have called his jump little more than a publicity stunt, it did help to invoke a sense of wonder at what we are capable of.
It might be assumed then that Baumgartner would be an ideal spokesman for space exploration, helping to raise the public’s awareness and excitement about “the final frontier,” but apparently that is not to be.
For space enthusiasts, he has rather turned out to be, disappointingly, just the opposite. In a recent interview with The Telegraph, Baumgartner stated that going to Mars is a waste of money:
"A lot of guys they are talking about landing on Mars," he said. "Because [they say] it is so important to land on Mars because we would learn a lot more about our planet here, our Earth, by going to Mars which actually makes no sense to me because we know a lot about Earth and we still treat our planet, which is very fragile, in a really bad way.
"So I think we should perhaps spend all the money [which is] going to Mars to learn about Earth. I mean, you cannot send people there because it is just too far away. That little knowledge we get from Mars I don’t think it does make sense."
"That is tax money," Mr Baumgartner, 43, added. "People should decide ‘are you willing to spend all this money to go to Mars?’ I think the average person on the ground would never spend that amount of money – they have to spend it on something that makes sense and this is definitely saving our planet."