Prime delivery, straight from the moon? Bezos dreams of heavy industry in space

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is convinced that one day “we are going to have to leave this planet.” And he believes that his Blue Origin space company can help make it happen.

Outlining his ambitious vision at the Space Development Conference in Los Angeles during a recent on-stage chat with GeekWire‘s Alan Boyle, Bezos said that, ideally, Blue Origin would collaborate with NASA or ESA, Europe’s space agency, to move toward his goal, though he said that if that doesn’t work out, his company would go it alone.

It’s not the first time Bezos has described his plan for colonizing other space rocks, but his most recent comments suggest the long-term plan is still very much at the forefront of his mind.

Bezos believes earthlings will one day have to shift some of their industry to the moon to help our planet better cope with pressures brought on by a rising population. He told Boyle that leaving Earth will “make this planet better,” adding, “We’ll come and go, and the people who want to stay will stay.”

Jeff Bezos Blue Origin
Blue Origin

The billionaire entrepreneur predicted that the moon could one day be a home for heavy industry driven by solar power, while Earth would be for residential and light industrial use.

“The Earth is not a very good place to do heavy industry,” Bezos said. “It’s convenient for us right now, 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.”

While Blue Origin is enjoying success with the development of its New Shepard reusable rocket system, it’s designed for suborbital missions for a proposed commercial space tourism business.

But Bezos’ company is also working on the far more powerful New Glenn rocket, powered by seven BE-4 boosters.

He wants to use that rocket system to transport the necessary components to the moon to build the lunar base. Think of it as a long-distance Amazon delivery service. Such a project could begin in the 2020s, with humans arriving at an unspecified time after that.

The Blue Origin boss is already intent on building more powerful rockets and landers, and is now eyeing the necessary work to create the parts required for a functioning moon base that can support human life.

Time to return to the moon

In March 2017, Bezos wrote: “It is time for America to return to the moon — this time to stay. A permanently inhabited lunar settlement is a difficult and worthy objective. I sense a lot of people are excited about this.”

By the end of the year, the U.S. government authorized NASA to once again focus on achieving a moon landing, 45 years after the last one.

For sure, a moon landing is a long way from a moon settlement. But many space fans will sense the two ambitions edging closer together, where relatively brief visits will eventually develop into longer stays that Bezos believes can one day become permanent as well as productive.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Emerging Tech

Pairs of supermassive black holes spotted in colliding galaxies

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of supermassive black holes in galaxies that are colliding with each other. These black holes will spiral closer and closer together and eventually merge into one supermassive black hole.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Quantum-based accelerometer can locate objects without GPS

Researchers have created a quantum "compass" that allows navigation without satellites. The instrument, technically called a standalone quantum accelerometer, is small enough to be transportable and has a very high level of accuracy.
Emerging Tech

Ancient continent discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica

Antarctica could be hiding the remains of a long-lost continent. Scientists created a 3D map of the crust beneath the Antarctic ice sheet which shows a similarity to the crust in Australia and India, suggesting they used to be joined.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.