The “Landbote” columnist was once fascinated by space shuttles and alien planets. Today he wonders what Bezos and Branson are doing there.
The space flight of the billionaires Bezos and Branson brings back childhood memories: When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first people to set foot on the moon in July 1969, I was not sitting in front of the Telefunken television late at night. The next day, when I was just nine years old, I saw the shaky, moving pictures.
Around this time I was allowed to watch the series “Raumpatrouille Orion” with Dietmar Schönherr for the first time. From then on I was fascinated by space travel. My toy cars became space shuttles, in the children’s room rubber balls covered with aluminum foil hung from the ceiling: my personal Milky Way. At Carnival, I wore a space suit made by my grandmother and made of shimmering curtain material. The helmet was a detergent box.
“When I was 16, I found the new TV series ‘My Uncle from Mars’ just embarrassing.”
But the fascination quickly lost its luster. As a 16-year-old adolescent, I found the new TV series “My Uncle from Mars” (from 1976) just embarrassing. One day, the world-famous astronaut Neil Armstrong, coming from Zurich-Kloten, even visited the provincial orbit of Constance and bought a tie from a men’s outfitter. That also left me cold.
But to this day I am enthusiastic about the satire “Mars Attacks!” with Jack Nicholson as the ignorant US president, whom the Martians unceremoniously take care of during their Earth invasion. The bitterly angry film caricatures the arrogance of the people on earth. Maybe that’s why I’m now wondering what the two billionaires Bezos and Branson have been doing in space recently?
“Progress,” both whisper. You have to open up new worlds, “democratize” space travel. The two men have probably also seen the series “Star Trek” earlier, the opening credits of which read: “Many light years from Earth, the Enterprise penetrates into galaxies that no human has ever seen before.”
Is this “advance” of the two super-rich into space just a hormone-controlled test of strength between two show-offs, for whose macho behavior the earth has become too small? Do we really need such visionaries who signal with their fuel-guzzling rockets that the problems of the old planet could be exported to other planets using technology? According to the motto: Torment yourself down there with climate change, we’ll shift the future into space and then we’ll be gone. Or as Captain Kirk of “Starship Enterprise” said at such moments: “Scotty, full thrust, Warp 2!”
Tobias Engelsing heads the municipal museums in Konstanz and writes the column “Tribüne” in alternation with other guest authors.
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