Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has confessed that his ecommerce, cloud and publishing enterprises come second to — and fund — his “most important work”: space tourism and reusable rockets.
Speaking in an interview with Mathias Döpfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, Bezos confessed he is liquidating around $US 1 billion ($AUD $1.3 billion) of Amazon stock every year to fund his space travel project, Blue Origin.
Business Insider reports Bezos called large-scale space travel the only way to avoid a “civilisation of stasis”, or a situation in which humans’ energy output, productivity and population is limited. The only other option, he said, is to expand into the solar system.
“The Solar System can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited (for all practical purposes) resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes. That’s the world that I want my great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren to live in.”
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For more than five years, Blue Origin has been building a “very large orbital vehicle”, which Bezos said will take its first flight in 2020.
The key to success here is re-usability, Bezos said.
“This civilization I’m talking about of getting comfortable living and working in space and having millions of people and then billions of people and then finally a trillion people in space – you can’t do that with space vehicles that you use once and then throw away. It’s a ridiculous, costly way to get into space.”
That’s not to say, however, that the earth will become uninhabited. Quite the opposite.
“We will move all heavy industry off of Earth and Earth will be zoned residential and light industry,” Bezos said.
“It will basically be a very beautiful planet. We have sent robotic probes to every planet in this solar system now and believe me this is the best one.”