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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 29, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Billionaire blasts into space

Come back to Earth, rocket man

The Associated Press

Hungarian-born U.S. software designer and space tourist Charles Simonyi, crew member of the 19th mission to the International Space Station, ISS, is seen prior to the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Thursday.

Editor, The Times:

There is something that bothers me about the Microsoft billionaire who just paid $35 million to the Russian space program to take a second ride into space [“U.S. space tourist blasts off for second space trip,” Nation and World, March 26].

Where should a human being draw the line on his own self-satisfaction? Would one space trip be enough for most folks who could afford it? What obligation does one owe to humankind when one has been blessed beyond our comprehension?

Is “I earned it so I can spend it as I please” the final determinant?

There was a prophet who said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren that you do also unto me.” Whatever one thinks about the divinity of the prophet, there is a thread that draws us all together.

Charles Simonyi may indeed also donate many millions to those less fortunate than himself — I hope so. However, whimsical satisfaction of my lightest desire is not something I strive for. When there are people living in tents through no particular failure on their part, I think $35 million could pay for more than a few apartments.

Perhaps after seeing the Big Blue Marble for the second time, Simonyi will be struck by the need to protect it from further damage and help those in need who live on it.

— Jack McClurg, Marysville

Comments | More in homeless, Philanthropy

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