Jeff Bezos said in a recent interview that he hopes for a distant future in which “a trillion” humans will inhabit the solar system, but the only way to get there is with massive space stations. [SpaceStation.png]
The Amazon and Blue Origin founder said on the Lex Fridman podcast published Thursday that a trillion humans would mean there could be a “thousand Mozarts and a thousand Einsteins” at any given point — a vision he previously shared in a 2018 interview with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company Axel Springer.
Our solar system has enough resources to support a civilization that large, Bezos said, but people won’t be inhabiting other planets.
“The only way to get to that vision is with giant space stations, he said. “The planetary surfaces are just way too small unless you turn them into giant space stations.”
Bezos said that humans will take resources from planets or the moon to support life on space colonies that resemble cylindrical space stations envisioned by the late physicist Gerard Kitchen O’Neill.
“They have a lot of advantages over planetary surfaces. You can spin them to get normal earth gravity. You can put them where you want them,” he said of O’Neill-style colonies, adding that most people are going to want to live near Earth anyway.
Bezos’s space colony agenda is notable in that it differs from his main competitor, SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Bezos doesn’t explicitly mention Musk in his answer to Fridman, but the two billionaires have butted heads in the past over what the future of space colonization will look like.
Musk has repeatedly spoken about his ambitions to colonize Mars, claiming that he wants to start building human settlements as soon as 2050.
SpaceX also has plans to help NASA send humans to the moon for the first time in 1972, but its colonization goals are mostly focused on Mars.
Bezos on the other hand has set his target on the moon, unveiling the giant Blue Moon lunar lander concept in 2019 that will help humans get there. He also has previously spoken about O’Neill-style space cylinders that can maintain a good climate all year long.
As the two battle over colonization, Musk apparently longs for a competitive space race, saying that he wished Bezos “would get out of his hot tub and yacht” and focus more on Blue Origin, according to his biographer Walter Isaacson.
Spokespersons for Blue Origin and SpaceX did not respond to a request for comment sent outside of working hours.
Experts previously told Business Insider about the scientific and ethical dilemmas that lie in both billionaires’ grandiose plans of space colonization, including the problems with gravity and space’s impact on the human immune system. But that doesn’t mean their efforts are worthless.
“As a species, we’ve got to do this. We’re going to crucify this planet sooner or later. So you might as well die going to Mars,” Kevin Moffat, an associate professor at the University of Warwick who specializes in human physiology, told BI.
Bezos told Fridman that, in the future, humans will be able to choose to go back and forth between space stations and Earth, and that space colonization is ultimately a means to preserve the planet.
“We’ve sent robotic probes to all the planets,” he said. “We know that this is the good one.”
- A Bizarre Study Says People Can Live in Asteroids. It’s Actually a Brilliant Idea. – Popular Mechanics
- Jeff Bezos: Amazon and Blue Origin – Lex Fridman Podcast (#405)
- Jeff Bezos says humans will live in massive space stations before settling on other planets, once again veering away from Elon Musk’s Mars ambitions – Business Insider
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