Can the resources of the solar system support one trillion humans? Jeff Bezos believes so and has made that one of the cornerstones for his vision of space colonization. Rather than focus on the inevitable that Earth will no longer be able to support humans – even if that will happen billions of years in the future when our sun begins to die – Bezos chooses to make the case that colonizing space is simply a logical next step in fulfilling our natural instinct to expand our territory.
“I want my grandchildren’s grandchildren to be in a world of pioneering, exploration and exploration throughout the solar system,” he said at the recent celebration of the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing at Cape Canaveral, which was hosted by Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation.
Bezos’ vision includes lunar colonies and eventual settlements throughout the solar system. It also includes the capacity to harvest resources in the asteroid belt and produce enough power through renewable and sustainable sources such as solar panels to support the growing human population. Bezos lists reusable rockets like the ones being developed by his aerospace company, Blue Origin, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX as the number one way to make spaceflight more affordable.
Sustainability is obviously a large part of Jeff Bezos’ vision for the future of space. The human population is growing and the demand for food, water, housing and energy is not going to go away anytime soon. Earth will inevitably reach a point where it’s incapable of supporting the human population even if we can find increasingly efficient ways to use resources.
So we have two options. We can take the Malthusian route that humanity will always be limited by the resources we can access on Earth and use that as an excuse to commit human rights violations. Or we can unleash the people who actually want to do something about it by making it possible to harvest resources in outer space, establish permanent settlements throughout the solar system, and take a load off Earth. Bezos is one of those who has both the means and the will to get the ball rolling on the latter.
“We can harvest resources from asteroids, from Near-Earth Objects … and continue to do amazing things,” he added during his appearance at the Cape Canaveral event.
Jeff Bezos outlined a path forward for Blue Origin that includes a cargo spacecraft called Blue Moon, which will be capable of transporting supplies that enable robots to set up a lunar outpost. Near-term goals that include suborbital and orbital rockets that are capable of taking tourists into outer space. His plans may put him in direct competition with SpaceX, which also recently announced plans for the Moon and intends to send two paying clients on a trip around the Moon next year. Bezos is the recipient of the first annual Buzz Aldrin Space Innovation Award.