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Shoot the Moon
Multimillionaire Richard Branson finally did it. He built a quasi-rocket ship, got on board, and rode it into outer space.

Well, sort of outer space. It was more like the edge of outer space, really. Far enough up there (40 miles, he said) to experience zero-G and float around for a few minutes before returning safely to Earth.

It was a so-so achievement, but at least he has bragging rights in the rich-guys-in-space race. Jeff Bezos has bragging rights as the richest guy in space, but he could only manage second place behind Branson. Bezos did go a bit higher at 55 miles, and he used a real rocket ship (not a tricked-out airplane) to make his trip, but he did not get the winner’s trophy.

Neither rich guy orbited the Earth — much less travelled to the Moon — so we’re not going to call them astronauts. Alan Shepard, the first American “in space”, bar-r-rely earned that title when he went up 116 miles. Still, you have to hand it to them for putting their butts on the line for their commercial venture. They could have died.

But they didn’t. And so they have a right to stick their chests out and grab some headlines. Their success, however, leaves a large question now begging to be answered: what about the other super-rich spaceman? Where is the irrepressible Elon Musk in this battle of egos? When is he going to show the same kind of confidence and daring for his product?

I don’t want to get into testosterone-shaming, but I think it’s time for Elon to show us what he’s got. Not just the big rocket ship, but the cajones to get in it and blast off. Either that, or his epitaph will be “Third Place”. Or worse, “Participant.”

Furthermore, he will need to up the ante if he wants a win in this rocket-measuring contest. That means going in orbit, at least. And not by hiring some poor schmuck to do it. If Elon really wants to win this thing once and for all, he’s got to go himself.

Musk on the Moon or bust!

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