Jeff Bezos planning for moon colony within decades

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos says his private space travel company Blue Origin will create a moon colony for human settlers and the earth’s heavy industry within decades.

The billionaire tech mogul revealed his firm will buddy up with NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) on the project but is willing to go it alone if officials bog it down.

Bezos has talked of moon missions before and is inching closer to his short-term goal of blasting human travelers into space with every successful test launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard and New Glenn re-usable spacecrafts.

More recently the Amazon founder said he would pour more of his own wealth into the project to make final frontier tourism accessible to all.

In the long term, he wants settlers to live and work in hollowed-out asteroids — a concept borrowed from Princeton physicist Gerrard O’Neill, outlined in his 1976 book “The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.”

“The Earth is not a very good place to do heavy industry. It’s convenient for us right now,” Bezos told Geekwire at the International Space Development Conference on Friday.

“But in the not-too-distant future — I’m talkin 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.”

Bezos claims that the only way to deal with the Earth’s crippling rise in population (and the burden this places on our energy resources) is to haul all heavy industry to the moon, where it will be powered by solar-fuelled outposts.

He added that the moon is an ideal new habitat for the human race as it can be reached within a couple of days with the right rocket.

And scientists have determined that it has deposits of water ice near the poles that could be converted into drinking water, breathable air and blaster fuel for reusable rockets, like the ones Blue Origin makes.

Before then, his company wants to get its lunar lander — that can carry humans or up to 5 tons of supplies to the moon – up and running.

It’s hoping to snag NASA as a partner on the project, though it will likely face competition from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and other private firms.

Of course, Musk is more interested in colonizing Mars, which could prove a boon for Blue Origin’s lunar ambitions.

But if that doesn’t work, Bezos is eyeing a back-up plan with the ESA.

He told Geekwire that he’s a big fan of the European Space Agency’s Moon Village concept: a permanent lunar colony that could replace the International Space Station as a pit-stop for Intergalactic travelers en route to Mars and beyond.

“The Moon Village concept has a nice property in that everybody basically just says, look, everybody builds their own lunar outpost, but let’s do it close to each other,” Bezos told Geekwire.

“That way, if you need a cup of sugar, you can go over to the European Union lunar outpost and say, ‘I got my powdered eggs, what have you got?’…Obviously, I’m being silly with the eggs, but there will be real things, like, ‘Do you have some oxygen?’”

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