WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
There are an increasing number of billionaires who believe heavy industry should be moved off of Earth and onto the Moon, and Bezos might be one to help make it a reality.
Outlining his ambitious vision at the Space Development Conference in Los Angeles during a recent on stage chat with GeekWire‘s Alan Boyle, Bezos said that, ideally, Blue Origin would collaborate with NASA or ESA, Europe’s space agency, who recently made their own announcement about building a Moon village, to move toward his goal, although he said that if that doesn’t work out, his company would go it alone. And let’s face it, like Elon Musk who wants to colonise Mars, Bezos, who recently became the world’s richest man, has both the vision and the resources, to pull it off, with or without NASA or ESA’s help.
It’s not the first time Bezos has described his plan for colonising other space rocks though, but his most recent comments suggest the long term plan is still very much at the forefront of his mind. Bezos, like many others, believes earthlings will one day have to shift some of their industry to the moon to help our planet better cope with pressures brought on by a rising population, and he told Boyle that leaving Earth will “make this planet better,” adding, “we’ll come and go, and the people who want to stay will stay.”
The billionaire entrepreneur also predicted that the Moon could one day be a home for heavy industry driven by solar power and space based solar farms, like the ones proposed by retired physicist David Criswell , while Earth would be for residential and light industrial use.
“The Earth is not a very good place to do heavy industry,” Bezos said, “it’s convenient for us right now, but in the not too distant future — I’m talking decades, maybe 100 years — it’ll start to be easier to do a lot of the things that we currently do on Earth in space, because we’ll have so much energy.”
While Blue Origin is enjoying success with the development of its New Shepard reusable rocket system, that’s designed for suborbital missions and a proposed commercial space tourism business, the company is also working on the far more powerful New Glenn rocket, which will be powered by seven BE-4 boosters.
Bezos wants to use that rocket system, which will challenge SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy that launched recently, to transport the necessary components to the moon to build the lunar base. Think of it as a long distance Amazon delivery service – something that, ironically, Bezos also touted recently.
At the moment it’s estimated that the joint project could begin in the early 2020s, with humans arriving at an unspecified time after that, and next Bezos and Blue Origin are going to put together the roadmap needed to build and create the parts required for a functioning moon base that can support human life.