Amazon and Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos has unveiled a new lunar lander Blue Moon, sharing his vision of a human colony beyond Earth.
During an event aptly dubbed "Going to Space to Benefit Earth" on Thursday, May 9, Bezos painted a utopian picture of humanity in the cosmos.
His hour-long presentation made
it clear that—for Bezos, at least—the future of humanity lies in the worlds beyond Earth. These worlds, he pointed out, could offer infinite resources and endless of possibilities.
As NASA sets their sights on returning to the moon
by 2024 — using Blue Moon — the team at Blue Origin declares that this time, the mission is "to stay."
Life On Earth Is Finite
For Bezos, the human quandary is simple: there are simply not enough of Earth's finite resources to meet the unlimited demands of everyone.
While Bezos calls Earth "the best planet" in the solar system, he says that it is no longer big enough to provide for the growing humanity. By staying put on this planet, people inevitably face rationing or going without some of the basic necessities, such as energy, which will eventually run out.
However, what this planet can't provide is abundant in outer space, he pointed out. The solar system offers unlimited resources for humanity.
"So, we get to choose: do we want stasis and rationing, or do we want dynamism and growth? This is an easy choice," Bezos said.
Building Habitats In Space
Bezos' ambition is to build human colonies outside Earth with free-floating habitats that opens up the possibility of a trillion human beings populating the solar system.
Inspired by the ideas of late physicist Gerard O'Neill, the Blue Origin
CEO proposed miles-long artificial worlds within glass cylinders designed to spin and create artificial gravity. Each "O'Neill city" is envisioned to house a million or more people inside, equipped with transportation, agriculture, and all the necessities.
Painting an idyllic picture of these future cities, he added that the climates would be ideal with no storms or earthquakes. The cities could take inspiration from real historical cities on Earth, while others would be purely for recreation or national parks.
"These are really pleasant places to live," Bezos promised.
It's a move that will not only benefit humanity, but also save Earth, which could be "zoned residential and light industry." Industrial activities that are heavy on pollution could be done away from the home planet to avoid further strain.
Of course, these colonies are still a few lifetimes away. Blue Origin's vision isn't to build these cities in the sky, but to pave the way with infrastructure, such as the new Blue Moon.
"This generation's job, my generation's job is to build the infrastructure so that you'll be able to," explained Bezos. "We're going to build a road to space and then amazing things will happen."
Is Space Truly The Only Option?
Not everyone buys into the utopia beyond Earth that Bezos is proposing, though.
Some point out
that the problems that Earth face are all part of humanity, not separate from it, no matter how far the space colonies are built beyond the planet. Thus, the urgent issues that Bezos talk about—poverty, pollution, and homelessness, among them—would only be magnified throughout the space colonies.
After all, if the problems can't be solved in on the smaller scale of Earth, how could they be solved in the infinite vastness of space?
Scientists are already calling for limitations of human development
and space mining in the solar system, pointing out how easily humanity could exhaust cosmic resources in the same way as Earth.