Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin Go All in on Moon Settlements
Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos says his Blue Origin space venture will work with NASA as well as the European Space Agency to create a settlement on the moon. And even if Blue Origin can’t strike public-private partnerships, Bezos will do what needs to be done to make it so, he said here at the International Space Development Conference on Friday night. Bezos laid out his vision for lunar settlement during a fireside chat with yours truly, which took place just after he received the National Space Society’s Gerard K. O’Neill Memorial Award.
In the short run, Blue Origin’s objective is to reduce the cost of access to space— initially with its New Shepard suborbital spaceship, and then with its orbital-class New Glenn rocket in the 2020s. In the long run, Bezos’ vision is to smooth the way for millions of people working in space. Those people just might live and work inside huge spinning habitats — a concept that was proposed decades ago by O’Neill, a Princeton physicist whose ideas on space settlement fueled Bezos’ passion for the final frontier..
The way Bezos sees it, moving heavy industry into solar-powered space outposts is the only way to ensure that our planet can cope with the rising demand for energy, and the stress that growing populations will put on Earth’s environment. Earth will be zoned for residential and light industrial use, while heavy industry will be moved off the planet and powered by 24/7 solar power, he said.