Jeff Bezos And Blue Origin Have Cosmic Ambitions For Lunar Colonization

Jeff Bezos surpassed Bill Gates to become the richest man in the world last year with an estimated net worth of over $90 billion; his net worth is now said to be around $130 billion. Bezos has more cooking than Amazon alone and one of his cooler ventures is Blue Origin, a lesser known private space venture than SpaceX. Bezos has stated that Blue Origin will work with the ESA and NASA to create a settlement on the moon.

blue origin lander

The billionaire has stated that he will do whatever needs to be done to make the lunar base a reality. Bezos made the statement last week at an International Airspace Development Conference. The main goal of Blue Origin is to make access to space cheaper starting with the New Shepard suborbital spaceship. Bezos also plans for his space company to roll out another spaceship that is capable of orbital insertion called the New Glenn. The orbital New Glenn rocket is expected to be ready for launch in the 2020s.

Bezos has a vision of making it easier for millions of people to work in space. As for where those folks might live, it could be inside hollowed-out asteroids. That is a concept that was proposed by a physicist from Princeton whose ideas on space settlement are part of the foundation that Bezos has for humans in space. Bezos believes that moving humans into space and using solar-powered space outposts is the only way to be sure that the Earth can cope with the ever-increasing demand for energy and stress that population growth puts on the ecosystem.

Bezos said in a GeekWire interview, "We will have to leave this planet. 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 sees a time when Earth is for residential and light industrial use with heavy industry moved off the planet and run by solar power. "The Earth is not a very good place to do heavy industry. It’s convenient for us right now," Bezos said. "But in the not-too-distant future — I’m talking decades, maybe 100 years — it’ll start to be easier to do a lot of the things that we currently do on Earth in space, because we’ll have so much energy."

In the shorter-term, Bezos wants to put a settlement on the moon. Upsides to using the moon as humanity's first permanent off-world settlement is the water ice in the poles that could be used for drinkable water, breathable air, and propellants for rockets. "It's almost like somebody set this up for us," Bezos said.

Blue Origin is working on a lunar lander that could deliver 5 tons of payload to the lunar surface. That same lander could also be used to put people on the moon. Blue Origin reckons with support that lander could be ready by the mid-2020s. The company wants to build that lander as a public/private ownership project in cooperation with NASA. However, Bezos says that his company will build the lander even if NASA won’t help.

Bezos and Blue Origin are committed to building the rockets and landers needed. He hopes that other firms will design the rovers, habitats, and other hardware the moon will need. Blue Origin will build those other settlement necessities if no one else will.

"We’ll do anything we need to do," Bezos said. "I hope we don’t need to do any of that. I want other people to do it. But if need be, we’ll do it." Bezos says that one of two things will happen, either others will take over the vision or he will run out of money. He has a lot of money.