A British-American explorer who has traveled to space and Earth’s highest and lowest points has said she would not go to Mars if offered the chance and criticized the idea of ”space tourism”.
Vanessa O’Brien, a 57-year-old who lives in London and New York, recently achieved her sixth Guinness World Record after flying into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
On August 4, O’Brien and five other crew members crossed the Karman Line, the internationally recognized boundary of outer space, into suborbital space to reach an altitude of 107 kilometers.
Asked if the red planet might be next on her adventure list, O’Brien told the PA news agency, “Mars is fun, but I’m not a big fan of Mars right now because Mars is a road.
“Mars doesn’t have a gravity that allows people to really get back from Mars, so Mars lets people go one way.
“I don’t know, is that a good thing? There’s a lot of people I’m probably going to send to Mars, so you can think of it that way.
“Build a colony on Mars? No, I think we’re fine on Earth right now.”
She urged people to focus on tackling climate change on Earth rather than chasing “intergalactic life”.
“We probably just need to learn to conserve and build better practices around how we take care of the earth here, and once we do that, we’ll be OK,” she said.
“I don’t know that intergalactic life is necessarily the answer.”
Mrs Young and YouTube star Coby Cotton.
She criticized the term “space tourism”, pointing to the level of training required to participate in projects such as Blue Origin.
“We have to be careful with terms like tourism because you really have to go through training,” she said.
“Remember you’re strapped to effectively what is a bomb … someone has to be able to withstand five and a half G-forces equivalent to a fighter pilot – this is not fun, it’s dangerous.
“I think of tourism as something more that has, transport, yes, but it should also have a combination of food and drink and some entertainment… I don’t know if I put it in this category.
“(These assignments are) even more about what you will learn or contribute or do.”
The Blue Origin team took off from the Texas desert on a suborbital rocket called New Shepherd, hovering above Earth’s atmosphere for five minutes before returning to Earth.
The mission, which took around 11 minutes, meant O’Brien has completed the Explorers Extreme Trifecta, reaching the highest and lowest points on Earth and flying into space.
After scaling the summit of Mount Everest in 2012, O’Brien traveled submersible to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, diving 10,925 meters below the surface of the western Pacific Ocean.
On her 2020 journey, she spent three hours at the bottom of the Marina Trench, longer than any other woman at the time.
O’Brien became the first British or American woman to summit K2, the second highest peak in the world, in 2017 and achieved the Guinness World Record for climbing the highest peak on any continent faster than any woman, taking 295 days.