At the International Space Development Conference on Friday night, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he hopes his new Blue Origin firm will work with the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA to develop a moon settlement. The billionaire sees the settlement as part of a future where humans abandon Earth.
“We will have to leave this planet. We’re going to leave it, and it’s going to make this planet better. We’ll come and go, and the people who want to stay will stay,” said Bezos.
"We will have to leave this planet. We’re going to leave it, and it’s going to make this planet better."
Bezos explained that he is a fan of ESA's Moon Village. "The Moon Village concept has a nice property in that everybody basically just says, look, everybody builds their own lunar outpost, but let's do it close to each other," Bezos said.
This approach Bezos said would encourage positive collaboration and exchange of resources. "That way, if you need a cup of sugar, you can go over to the European Union lunar outpost and say, 'I got my powdered eggs, what have you got?" Bezos said jokingly.
Bezos is currently attempting to build Blue Origin's Blue Moon lander, a lunar lander capable of carrying humans, as a public-private partnership with NASA. However, the founder made it clear the lander would come to fruition regardless of NASA's involvement.
“By the way, we will do that, even if NASA doesn’t do it. We’ll do it eventually. We could do it a lot faster through a partnership,” said Bezos.
Space for heavy industry
The moon, with its confirmed deposits of water, is ideally constructed and located to serve as the first space city for humans according to Bezos. Regardless of whether his plans come to life, Bezos seems certain that heavy industry in the future will certainly be done in space.
"The Earth is not a very good place to do heavy industry. 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," added Bezos.
Bezos has some competition in his space expansion goals from SpaceX founder Elon Musk. However, Musk’s focus is on Mars, rather than the moon, as the ideal first human space colony.
The race for space has begun and Bezos is determined to put his money where his mouth is. Bezos said he would use $1 billion worth of Amazon stock per year to fund Blue Origin.
“One of two things will happen: either other people will take over the vision, or I’ll run out of money. Those are the two possibilities,” Bezos concluded.
Blue Origin is an aerospace start-up firm established by Bezos in 2000. After over a decade in development, Blue Origin’s New Shepard craft debuted in 2015. The company now hopes to start trials on its New Glenn craft in 2020.