The comments were supposedly aimed at billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos for developing space travel rather than protecting the climate. Prince William told the BBC: “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.
However, workers in the space industry have said Prince William has not highlighted how important space technology has been in exposing global warming.
Figures have even suggested space technology can provide solutions.
Keith Wright, a British systems engineer oversaw the science experiments delivered to the lunar surface by Apollo 11 in 1969.
He has said Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon were both working on technology that could in the future provide a route to cleaner energy.
He said: “Both Musk’s company SpaceX and Bezos’s Blue Origin are developing very big and cheap-to-fly launchers, apparently for the goal of colonising Mars.
“The fallout from that is we will have a key launch capability, which will allow us to do things that can help protect the planet.
He added: “William’s judgment may not be based on complete knowledge.
“Space programmes can run in parallel with looking after the planet.”
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Mark Hempsell, an astronautics consultant who previously worked on the British Skylon space plane project said: “People like Musk and Bezos are actually trying to solve the problem he’s addressing.
“Bezos is saying that he wants to industrialise space; he wants to offload the bits of industry and economic activity the earth can’t take, so we can have a civilisation on earth that is environmentally sound.”
“Space tourism is a part of those companies developing a much wider transportation infrastructure.”
Prince William’s Earthshot Prize awards ceremony will take place on Sunday.
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The Duke of Cambridge’s £50 million initiative aims to find solutions to the planet’s problems throughout the next decade.
The winners in the five categories this year will each receive £1 million to develop their projects after being chosen by a judging panel.