Last week, Amazon's founder, Jeff Bezos, presented his vision of the future of humanity's presence in space. The richest man on the planet (at least on paper) spent about an hour talking about how and why he believes that one day we should develop massive space structures that can house millions of people outside the world. And then he defended how his Blue Origin company will build the necessary infrastructure to make those big dreams come true.
It all starts with the rockets that Blue Origin is building, but now also includes Blue Moon, the lunar vehicle. Bezos released on Thursday. Blue Moon is what your company will use to deliver some day science and human equipment to the surface of the Moon. It can land between 3.6 and 6.5 metric tons on the lunar surface, and is likely to be a key part of the company's desire to extract ice from water at the poles of the Moon.
Bezos has spoken publicly about his great vision for colonizing space (and how it differs from, say, Elon Musk) before, especially at the 2016 Code Conference. But at this week's event, he offered one more explanation focused and detailed on the reasons why you think we should take on this enormous effort. An important one is that the Earth has finite resources, especially energy, he argued. Space, on the other hand, offers the promise of unlimited resources. All we need is cheaper and more reliable access, according to Bezos.
Not everyone agrees with these statements. Some believe that over time we could exhaust the resources of the solar system as if we were on the right path to do it here on Earth. There is also a very good argument about how we have not yet discovered how to live sustainably on this planet, and that we should solve this massive problem before creating new ones for our species. He is also basing his vision on extremely capitalist ideals (such as unlimited growth) at a time when high-profile members of the US government question some of those ideals, not to mention some of their citizens.
This was not the case. It's not the first time we've heard Bezos's opinion about the distant future, but it was the first time we saw him expose it on his own terms in such a public way. It will not be the last we will hear of him either. Bezos is likely to recycle parts of this speech as we approach some of Blue Origin's most important events, such as the first launch of its New Glenn mega rocket in 2021 or any attempt to send Blue Moon to the lunar surface. . In many ways, it's a commercial aimed at NASA, one that we'll probably play in a loop until the space agency decides whether to use Blue Origin's technology in its own attempt to return to the Moon by 2024.
In other words, it raises many questions that it is likely that we all spend the next few years debating.