Prince William Shades Space Tourism, Says 'Trying to Repair This Planet' Should Come First

Prince William told the BBC, "We have 10 years of critical time where we have to make an inroad and find new solutions"

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
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Don't expect Prince William to join in the frenzy over space tourism.

During an interview on BBC's Newscast podcast released Thursday, the 39-year-old royal said the money and brainpower being funneled into the new space race ought to be geared toward climate change instead.

"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," William told host Adam Fleming.

William Shatner's trip to space aboard Blue Origin's Rocket
Blue Origin's space vehicle. CNET Highlights

William's comments come one day after actor William Shatner became the oldest person to leave Earth on Wednesday when he and four other crew members went on an 11-minute trip to space in Blue Origin rocket. Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos and Virgin Galactic billionaire Richard Branson have also made the trip this year.

But now is not the time for endeavors like this, William said. He believes climate change should take priority.

"We've got time to do this," he told Fleming. "We have 10 years of critical time where we have to make an inroad and find new solutions and inspire people who can fix these solutions because past 2030, things get rapidly worse very quickly."

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

William also doubts that people will be inspired to tackle climate change by hearing negative narratives. Instead, he hopes to help improve the level of "urgency and positivity" around the debate with his signature Earthshot Prize, which will provide five winners with $1.3 million on Sunday night (and each year through 2030) to help them make strides to combat the climate crisis over the next decade.

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
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"I think that ultimately is what sold it for me — that it really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet] rather than giving up and heading out into space to try and think of solutions for the future," he said.

Looking forward, William says he plans to keep his advocacy — and his feet — planted firmly on Earth. "I have no interest in going up that high," the former Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot said of space tourism. Though he did once reached 65,000 feet in a plane — "and that was truly terrifying."

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