In a strange turn of events, online petitions have emerged to prevent Jeff Bezos’ re-entry into Earth next month. A few days ago, the Amazon boss had announced that he would fly into space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard Rocket on July 20th. The petitions have gained much traction since their launch and over 40,000 people have already signed the one on Change.org.
All in all, more than 60,000 people have signed all the various petitions in existence.
Jeff Bezos had earlier announced that he and his brother Mark would be aboard the first manned spaceflight of the New Shepard capsule. The capsule can seat six passengers and Blue Origins auctioned the third seat for a whopping $28 million. The identity of the bidder is still withheld while the fourth seat will be occupied by a crew member.
The space flight includes a trip to Karman line, an imaginary boundary 62 miles (100 km) from the Earth’s surface. Here, the capsule will split from the rocket and begin falling towards the Earth. Capsule inhabitants will experience weightlessness, reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, after which the parachutes will soften their landing.
The launch has assumed significance since it is the first space flight of a paying passenger and is now seen as a billionaire joy-ride. Petitions were launched within days of Bezos’s announcement and signatories have targeted other billionaires such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Virgin’s Richard Branson as well. Both Musk and Branson have companies aiming at space tourism in the near future, although none have yet confirmed their participation in a test flight.
One of the petitioners likened Bezos to an evil Star Trek character prodding him to “be bold, go beyond! Ok leave already lol”.
Another said, “I don’t understand why he thinks he’s entitled to come back anyhow” echoing another’s sentiment, “Being let back into earth is a privilege— not a right. If he wants back in he’s gotta work for it”
Many petitioners have sought payment of taxes as a pre-condition for re-entry.
Reaching 50,000 petitioners will make this one of the top signed petitions on Change.org.