Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, the world’s largest company, envisions a future where a trillion humans live on space colonies dotted around the solar system. His Blue Origin company, set up to develop the commercialisation of space travel, could, believes Bezos, eventually evolve into the commuter service back to Earth from human outposts far out in space. If Bezos’s track record is anything to go by, he’ll hope the company he leaves behind one day will build the actual colonies and manage their supplies.
Speaking at the Yale Club in New York at an event organised by the Wings Club aviation group, Bezos outlined how he believes limited resources on Earth will necessitate the colonisation of space if humanity is to continue to progress. The alternative, he thinks, would mean a ‘civilisation of stasis’, for which energy is rationed and populations controlled in way comparable to China’s former ‘1 child per couple’ rule.
Bezos thinks it more likely that human colonies elsewhere in the solar system will be out in space rather than on planets, where mining of minerals, other natural resources and heavy industry will take place. Earth, on the other hand, will be assigned zoning as a place where only ‘light industry’, services and education takes place, as well as residential areas, allowing the ‘gem’ of the solar system to be maintained in pristine condition.
The result of a trillion strong space population of humans would be a “1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins” contributing towards an “incredible” and “dynamic” civilisation.
Blue Origin is developing the latest technology in the world of reusable rockets. Bezos is convinced cost effective launch and reusable rockets and other vehicles are the necessary first step towards taking humanity’s next stage of evolving civilisation out into the solar system. He is personally pouring billions of his own fortune, estimated at over $100 billion, into that ambition.
Bezos is not the only billionaire in the space race. Tesla’s Elon Musk, through his company SpaceX, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galaxy, are also working on reusable rocket and cheap launch technology. The first target of all three companies is to commercialise ‘space tourism’ flights into the solar system as well as more cost efficient launch of the growing number of satellites the latest technology in the world needs for communications.