Branson reached space on a test flight for Virgin Galactic before gliding back to earth and touching down safely Sunday, the latest salvo in the burgeoning space tourism business led by high-profile billionaires. Much of the historical event occurred during Stelter’s ratings-challenged media program, so he was tasked with anchoring a portion of the coverage.
“On Friday, in Death Valley, California, it was 130 degrees, the highest temperature ever. Saturday, same thing. Today, it might, again, set a record for the highest temperature on the planet,” Stelter said. “Is it moral, is it ethical to be launching rockets and flying off to space and spending all this money and burning all this fuel in an age of climate crisis?”
CNN aerospace analyst Miles O’Brien didn’t play ball.
“Well, I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive, Brian,” O’Brien said. “I think we can afford to continue to push our frontier, but we still have to fix our own spaceship here first and concurrently.”
O’Brien added that space exploration is important as humanity searches for natural resources that could eventually be mined, and it’s crucial to take steps toward extending humankind beyond the solar system.
Fox Business Network’s Pater Aitken contributed to this report.