• Billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are racing to space. Elon Musk says he wants to die on Mars.
  • All three men say that combating climate change is important to them, but remain invested in carbon intensive businesses.
  • The billionaire space race further serves to legitimize the benevolence of these great fortunes and the emissions these titans emit.
  • Will Meyer is a freelance writer and co-editor of The Shoestring.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

Without a hint of self-parody, we’ve reached a new epoch of human progress: the billionaire space race.

Last month on Instagram, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos released a slightly awkward, staged video where he invited his younger brother Mark to launch 62 miles into the air to just above what is known as the Kármán line, or the earth’s border with space. The Bezos brothers along with another extremely wealthy person – who paid $28 million via auction for the opportunity – and pilot Wally Funk took the first human flight on Blue Origin, the space exploration company created by Bezos.

Not to be outdone, another billionaire, Virgin’s Richard Branson, beat Bezos to the chase by flying to space on July 11. Branson maintains that he was not racing Bezos to space but that his engineers just happened to sign off on his trip after a successful test flight on May 22. Bezos and Branson both hope their space ventures will bring tourists on similar trips soon.

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