A handful of billionaires — which is about as many billionaires that exist on planet Earth — have been working up plans to get to space over the last few weeks. And it appears to be a real competition of rich white men. On Tuesday, one of them made it: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos took off on his Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket ship this morning, taking with him his brother Mark Bezos, an 18-year-old student named Oliver Daemen, and 82-year-old Wally Funk — an aviator who was supposed to make it to space on an all-woman mission in 1961 that was scrapped.
The Amazon CEO's rocket flight took him on a 2,300 mph outing to the edge of space, where Bezos and his passengers remained for a moment before heading right back down to Earth. After the rocket used up most of its fuel getting to its destination, it hovered there momentarily before gravity brings the capsule back to the ground, with the landing made easy thanks to several parachutes, according to CNN.
Bezos's short, 11-minute trip was part of what some are calling a "billionaire space race," as English businessman Richard Branson made the journey into space last week with his company Virgin Galactic. Meanwhile, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and Chief Engineer at SpaceX hasn't made any concrete plans of his own to take a little joy ride to a galaxy far, far away. However, he reportedly put down a deposit for a future Virgin Galactic escapade into the stars.
But something good did come of the billionaire space race: the endless jokes. In Bezos's short absence Tuesday morning, some people took the easy jab: that Musk became the richest man on Earth, playing into the billionaires' egos. After all, their supposed plans to throw away billions of dollars developing a space tourism industry that will be available only to the wealthy — while also polluting the atmosphere — couldn't really be about anything more than ego and vanity, right?
Luckily, some Bezos space memes will help get us through this needless yardstick match. If there's one thing many people agree on, it's that he can go to space as long as he doesn't come back.
In truth, we are all losers when it comes to the billionaire space race. While the planet is becoming uninhabitable, Bezos's own workers don't make a living wage and billionaires are literally launching themselves into space to get away from it all. So, I guess at this point all we can do is laugh through the uncomfortably gross display of wealth with a few good "same-day delivery jokes."