Julio Torres loves outer space, at least, in theory he does. The Saturday Night Live writer posts on Instagram under the username @spaceprincejulio. In 2018, he appeared in a segment on The Tonight Show where he named various aliens for NASA, and his HBO comedy special, My Favorite Shapes (Saturday, August 10, 10:30 p.m. Eastern), is a trippy exhibition of his various trinkets with a sci-fi backdrop (Torres wears a shiny silver suit onstage and begins the show by stepping through a CGI portal).
But when Inverse asked Torres about his hopes for the future of space exploration, his response was more down to Earth than you might expect. Below, read Torres’ take, in his own words, on the ethics and economics of space travel, along with his hopes for the future of humanity beyond the grip of Earth’s gravity.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been kind of sad by the idea that I’ll maybe never leave Earth. This planet, it’s so small, it’s just oh-so-small. But space to me is also really fun as a concept.
Should humans go to space? Yes. Is it a waste of money? Maybe.
I hope we go to space because we want to. Not because we have to. Not because we ruined the planet to make plastic water bottles. In the future, I think people will live on other planets. We might need to leave Earth, what with climate change and everything else. I hope we don’t, but it’s not looking good.
"I don’t love planting flags.
I think the future of space travel depends on what’s going on politically. I don’t like the idea of space exploration being done for anything other than knowledge, and the pursuit of knowledge, and the furthering of humanity. As a whole, I don’t love planting flags. I don’t love flags in general.
I also wish we didn’t have to depend on tech billionaires to get to space. I feel like we should have a more humane focus, but the world is just so money driven. That may be the only real solution. In the future, you’ll probably have to be a citizen of Amazon so you can go live on Jeff Bezos’ space yacht.
Or you’ll move to Elon Musk’s city on Mars. I wouldn’t want to live on Mars, but I’ll go visit. And when I’m dead, maybe my frozen body will be thrown in space. Perhaps.
Julio Torres is a member of the Inverse Future 50.