Jeff Bezos envisions a new space race of one trillion humans that will spread out across our solar system. The Amazon founder and richest man on the planet - for now, suggested that there would be "1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins," adding "Think how incredible and dynamic that civilization will be," according to a speech last week at the Yale Club in New York transcribed by Business Insider.
Bezos says that his aerospace company Blue Origin is building a "low-cost, highly operable, reusable launch vehicle" for spaceflight.
"I really want that dynamic life and civilization for our grandchildren's grandchildren. But we've got to get started,"said Bezos - who warned that "we don't have forever."
Bezos praised tech entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg, citing him as an example of the type of entrepreneuership that could inspire space colonization technologies but that the prohibitive costs of getting into orbit has hindered progress.
"An even more stark example is Facebook. Here's a guy who literally, in his dorm room, started a company — Mark Zuckerberg started a company in his dorm room, which is now worth half a trillion dollars — less than two decades ago," said Bezos.
"How do you get that kind of entrepreneurial [advancement] in space? You need to lower the price of admission right now to do anything interesting in space because it requires so much heavy lifting and so much infrastructure development.
The entry price point for doing interesting things is hundreds of millions of dollars. Nobody is going to do that in their dorm room. You can't have a Mark Zuckerberg of space today." -Jeff Bezos
"It's impossible. Two kids in their dorm room can't start anything important in space today," said Bezos, adding: "I want to take the assets that I have from Amazon and translate that into the heavy-lifting infrastructure that will [help] the next generation to have dynamic entrepreneurialism in space — kind of build that transportation network."
"That's what's going on, that's what Blue Origin's mission is. If we can do that, then the whole thing will take off and there will be thousands of companies doing creative things."
The Sun has summarized more of Bezos's thoughts:
- "I don't think we'll live on planets, by the way. I think we'll live in giant O'Neal-style space colonies. Gerard O'Neil, decades ago, came up with this idea.
- "He asked his physics students at Princeton a very simple question, but a very unusual one, which is: Is a planetary surface the right place for humanity to expand in the solar system? And after doing a lot of work, they came back and decided the answer was "no."
- "There's a fascinating interview with Isaac Asimov, Gerard O'Neill, and their interviewer that you can find on YouTube from many decades ago. And to Asimov, the interviewer says, "Why do you think we're so focused, then, on expanding onto other planetary surfaces?" And Asimov says, "That's simple. We grew up on a planet, we're planet chauvinists."
- "But the space colonies we'll build will have many advantages. The primary one is that they'll be close to Earth. The transit time and the amount of energy required to move between planets is so high
- "But if you have giant space colonies that are energetically close and, in terms of travel time close to Earth, then people will be able to come and go. Very few people are going to want to leave this planet permanently — it's just too amazing.
- "Ultimately what will happen, is this planet will be zoned residential and light industry. We'll have universities here and so on, but we won't do heavy industry here. Why would we? This is the gem of the solar system. Why would we do heavy industry here? It's nonsense.
- "And so over time — of course you have to today — but over time that transition will happen very naturally. It'll even be the business-smart thing to do because the energy and resources will be so much cheaper off-planet that industries will naturally gravitate to those lower-cost environments."