Elon Musk has seemingly brought memes into his ongoing space race against former Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. Following his billionaire rival’s successful mission to space aboard his Blue Origin spacecraft, Elon Musk responded to a meme of him and Bezos that mocked the Amazon big shot for not going into orbit.
The meme follows a popular format from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones in which Jeff Bezos’ head is superimposed onto Anakin Skywalker’s while Elon Musks is on Padme. As Insider notes, Bezos’ flight was sub-orbital, meaning it only touched the edge of space before coming back to Earth, giving Bezos and his passengers roughly three minutes of time in zero gravity.
The outlet notes that Elon Musk, meanwhile, is setting his sights higher with his SpaceX company. Not only does he plan to go into orbit and land people on the moon, but he has high hopes of helping to colonize Mars.
The war of memes between space rivals Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos is just the latest in a recent string of billionaires vying to capitalize on space tourism. The Associated Press notes that Bezos’ flight, which came on the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, was nine days too late to beat fellow billionaire Richard Branson into sub-orbit on his Virgin Galactic spacecraft.
However, Bezos reached an altitude of about 66 miles, more than 10 miles higher than Branson’s flight. The 60-foot booster accelerated Bezos’ craft to three times the speed of sound to get the capsule high enough, to beat the billionaire who got to space first.
The outlet notes that, while further space exploration is cool, critics say it’s a bad look for billionaires like Elon Musk to have their sights set on the stars. Competition with one another in this realm comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has led to so many problems here on humanity’s home planet, problems that the billionaires have the resources to address.
However, the billionaires seem undeterred given that this isn’t the first time that Elon Musk has publicly mocked Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin company on Twitter. He previously responded to an MIT Technology Review article by calling Bezos’ company a “copy cat.” The New York Times reports that Bezos, meanwhile, challenged NASA on its “unfair” decision to award a $2.9-billion contract for landing humans on the moon to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
NASA announced on April 16 that it had chosen Elon Musk’s SpaceX to land humans on the moon by 2024. However, Bezos’ Blue Origin argued that NASA negotiated a proposed price with SpaceX that it did not give Blue Origin the opportunity to do. As a result, it filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office to challenge the decision.
Still, it seems that Elon Musk, despite not having personally been to space yet, is still on track to be the definitive name in space exploration. That is thanks, in large part, to the contract with NASA and, as the meme puts it, having his sights somehow set even high than sup-orbital space travel.