Prince William blasts billionaires for space focus, claims they should be trying to repair Earth

In the same week one William made history as the oldest man in space, another William has hit out at billionaires concentrating on the final frontier instead of Earth.

Ninety-year-old actor William Shatner, otherwise known as Star Trek captain James T Kirk, blasted into space on Thursday on billionaire Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

It seemed to have a profound impact on the legendary actor, who said he hoped he never recovered from the experience after landing.

"I’m so filled with emotion about what just happened. It’s extraordinary, extraordinary. It’s so much larger than me and life," he said.

"It hasn’t got anything to do with the little green men and the blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.

"To see the blue colour whip by you, and now you’re staring into blackness. Everybody in the world needs to do this, everybody in the world needs to see this.”

But Prince William has said billionaires, like Amazon founder Bezos and Tesla's Elon Musk should be trying to repair Earth and not trying to find the next place to go and live.

The Duke of Cambridge made the observation during an interview for the BBC's Newscast podcast.

"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," he said.

That includes focusing on Earth "rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future", he said.

William also said he had "absolutely no interest" in going into space given the questions of the carbon cost of space flights and the impact that has on the planet's climate.

He also warned of "climate anxiety" hitting the younger generation because of the threat to their future, saying it would be an "absolute disaster" if Prince George was having to talk about saving the planet in 30 year's time.

Despite his carbon-intensive sojourn into space, Shatner appeared to agree, telling NBC the Earth was "so fragile".

"The fragility of this planet - the coming catastrophic event, and we all need to clean this act up now," he said.

The Prince is just the latest to criticise the rise in space tourism. Prior to Bezos heading into space in July charity organisation Oxfam blasted the trip as "human folly".

"We’ve now reached stratospheric inequality. Billionaires burning into space, away from a world of pandemic, climate change and starvation," Deepak Xavier, Oxfam International's global head of inequality campaign, said at the time.

"Eleven people are likely now dying of hunger each minute while Bezos prepares for an 11-minute personal space flight."