WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
As the world gets more crowded billionaires are lining up to make humans an inter-stellar species, with interesting results.
The plan of Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, to transport humans from Earth to the Moon and house millions of us in space colonies around the galaxy may seem light years away – but this week he offered people a glimpse of how he envisions humanity’s “grand future.”
The Amazon billionaire’s plans to “build a road to space for our children” were outlined in Washington DC as he outlined his vision for aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services firm Blue Origin.
Bezos talked of giant orbital structures that will be able to house self-sustaining colonies and presented stunning artists’ impressions of what life might be like living and working under the stars.
These picturesque landscapes detailing wildlife, waterfalls, mountains and new-age architecture have been produced using the research of physicist Gerard O’Neill.
A replay of the event
“The idea [is] of manufactured worlds, rotating to create artificial gravity with centrifugal force. These are very large structures, miles on end, and they hold a million people or more, each,” Bezos said in his speech. “This is a very different kind of space colony. High speed transport, agricultural areas… cities in the background. Some of them would be more recreational – they don’t have to have the same gravity. You could have a recreational one that keeps zero G’s so you could go flying with your own wings. Some would be national parks.”
“Some of these ‘O’Neill colonies’ might choose to replicate Earth cities. They might pick historical cities and mimic them in some way… These are ideal climates, these are short sleeve environments – this is Maui on its best day, all year long, no rain, no storms, no earthquakes,” he continued.
If much of the speech from Bezos, the Amazon CEO and Blue Origin founder, sounded like far-out science fiction, that’s because it is – for the time being at least.
He also provided insights into Blue Origin’s lunar lander plans – a spacecraft that he recently suggested would also help him create the world’s first Moon delivery service as, in parallel, he also builds out his vision of moving all heavy industry off of Earth, and building a permanent colony on the Moon. Why have one vision when you can have tons of them!? And the landers first mission to return people to the Moon will begin as early as 2024.
“Big things start small,” Bezos told the crowd of reporters and space industry folks. “It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”
In the mind of Bezos, developing a new lunar lander is the next piece of infrastructure needed to expand human presence in the cosmos.
“It could help open the door for thousands of entrepreneurs” to create new space businesses,” he said.
Bezos has been funding Blue Origin out of his own pocket by selling about $1 billion worth of Amazon stock each year, and now it looks like the company could get new backing from NASA after Donald Trump announced a new $1.6 billion investment in NASA, with the dream of putting the first woman on our lunar neighbour.
Blue Origin’s announcement also comes just weeks after Vice President Mike Pence said that the US “would put boots back on the moon within five years by any means necessary.”
All of which sounds very convenient and “on mission” with Bezos’s own plans, so sign me up for a corner penthouse with a space view and zero gravity – after all, why would I want to walk to the fridge when I can fly?