Billionaire Jeff Bezos shed some more light on his plans to take us to the moon. At the Space Development Conference in Los Angeles, Bezos said that his Blue Origin space venture will play a critical role in this so-called lunar settlement.
“We will have to leave this planet,” Bezos told Geekwire. “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.”
He thinks the Earth should be zoned for residential and light industrial use, while much of the heavy industry will move to other planets or the moon. He predicts this will happen in the next 100 years. As Gizmodo described it, “humans will ultimately use the functionally unlimited expanse of space as a giant solar powered manufacturing sector slash garbage dump.”
Bezos did say that the exploration and eventual settlement of the moon “won’t be done by one company.” He noted a desire to collaborate with NASA or the European space agency, but said it will ultimately require “thousands of companies working in concert over many decades.”
The private space race has been heating up in recent years with Bezos and fellow rocket billionaires Elon Musk and Richard Branson.
Over the weekend, Branson said that he and Bezos are “neck and neck as to who will put people into space first.” But, he added, they “have to do it safely,” calling it a “race with ourselves” to ensure that they each build a shuttle that is safe enough to send people to space.
Don’t hold your breath for private space travel to go mainstream anytime soon. To put things in perspective: Fewer than 600 people, nearly all from the public sector, have ever gone above the Kármán line—the point about 62 miles above Earth that marks the beginning of space.