By Rob Quinn
July 9, 2021
(NEWSER) – With Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos planning their first trips to space as dangerous heat waves intensify, some people suspect the billionaires are planning futures off the planet. Not going to happen, says Sim Kern in an essay at Salon. “As a scifi writer and the spouse of a NASA flight controller, let me assure you that the rich escaping the earth for a space utopia is only a trope in fiction,” Kern writes, noting that life on the International Space Station, the “most comfortable living situation we’ve ever devised above Earth’s orbit,” is a very long way from luxurious, and crews are only able to survive with the help of thousands of experts problem-solving on Earth. Kern notes that ISS astronauts have to exercise two hours a day just to stop “their bones turning to goo”—and that Scott Kelly, after a lifetime training to be an astronaut, found his record-breaking year in space “physically and psychologically grueling” and retired when he returned.