Sir, – I was surprised by your gushing editorial on Richard Branson's recent trip to the edge of space and the potential market for commercial space tourism ("Irish Times view on the new space race: breaking the bonds of Earth", July 14th).
Nowhere in the piece was any consideration given to the fact that such rocket flights, which are of no scientific benefit, consume vast amounts of fuel.
In a world where our energy consumption should be carefully budgeted in the face of the clear and present danger of climate change, the last thing we need is a burgeoning industry in space tourism.
May I suggest to Richard Branson and his fellow billionaires that there are plenty of thrills to be had here on planet Earth, not least a bracing dip in Atlantic Ocean. – Yours, etc,
Dr CORMAC O’RAIFEARTAIGH,
School of Science,