'Like trying to build the USA in the middle of the Atlantic': Elon Musk just dunked on Jeff Bezos' vision to build floating space colonies

  • Elon Musk dunked on Jeff Bezos’ ambitions to one day house a trillion people in gigantic spinning cylinders orbiting the Earth.
  • The concept is called O’Neill colonies, named after Gerard O’Neill, the Princeton physicist who came up with the idea in 1976.
  • In a tweet on Thursday, Musk said that building them would be “like trying to build the USA in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Jeff Bezos earlier this month revealed a vision for human settlements in space that verged on science fiction. Elon Musk, his fellow billionaire space missionary, said Bezos’ plans are exactly that.

At a press conference in Washington, DC, Bezos presented plans from his spaceflight company, Blue Origin, including his ambition to establish a “sustained human presence” on the moon.

Part of Bezos’ space-colonization dreams involves enormous spinning cylinders called O’Neill colonies, named after Gerard O’Neill, the Princeton physicist who came up with the concept in 1976. Bezos said his aim is to house a trillion people in the colonies, which would replicate gravity.

Blue origin oneill space colony illustration rendering concept deer dave mosher business insiderDave Mosher/Business InsiderA fanciful illustration on a screen of an O’Neill space colony, inside of which Bezos says humans may one day live and work.

When asked by a Twitter user on Thursday what he thought about the O’Neill colonies that Bezos proposed, Musk was less than enthusiastic.


Read more:
Jeff Bezos wants floating colonies in space with weather like Maui all year long – here’s what he thinks they will look like

“Makes no sense,” he said. “In order to grow the colony, you’d have to transport vast amounts of mass from planets/moons/asteroids. Would be like trying to build the USA in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”

This isn’t the first time Bezos and Musk have sparred over their dual space ambitions.

Musk mocked the name of the moon lander in Bezos’ Blue Origin presentation at the time, tweeting that “putting the word ‘Blue’ on a ball is questionable branding.”

Bezos also indirectly ribbed Musk during his presentation, pointing out the impracticalities of settling on Mars, Musk’s stated destination for his own spaceflight company, SpaceX.

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