- Jeff Bezos, in a presentation for his company Blue Origin this week, detailed his ambitions to put up to 1 trillion people in space in O’Neill colonies: spinning cylinders meant to replicate gravity, orbit the Earth, and sustain human life.
- “This is Maui on its best day, all year long,” he said, according to The Guardian. “No rain. No earthquakes. People are going to want to live here.”
- The Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill came up with the idea in 1976, when he said other planets might not be the best place for humans to live away from Earth.
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Jeff Bezos on Thursday restated his ambition to build floating space colonies where people could stay in orbit in excellent climates, with weather like “Maui on its best day, all year long.”
The Amazon founder made the comments at a press conference in Washington, DC, where he unveiled the Blue Moon lander, a giant vehicle designed to deliver payloads – and perhaps astronauts one day – to the surface of the moon.
The lander, created by Bezos’ privately held rocket company, Blue Origin, aims to help establish “sustained human presence” on the moon, Business Insider’s Dave Mosher reported from the event.
Bezos also branched out into his far-flung ambitions to put up to 1 trillion people in space with O’Neill cylinders, a hypothetical technology meant to sustain human life.
The spinning cylinders are designed to replicate gravity, orbit the Earth, and give people and plants a place to live.
Bezos described the O’Neill colonies as having “high-speed transport,” “agricultural areas,” and “cities in the background,” with some designed for recreation.
“They don’t all have to have the same gravity,” he said. “You could have a recreational one that keeps zero Gs so that you could go flying with your own wings. Some would be national parks.”
The cylinders are named after the Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, who in 1976 suggested that other planets might not be the best place for humans to live away from Earth.
According to Bezos’ plan, living in those space colonies would be as easy and temperate as living in Hawaii.
“This is Maui on its best day, all year long,” he said, according to The Guardian. “No rain. No earthquakes. People are going to want to live here.”
Bezos said he envisioned some of the colonies replicating cities on Earth.
“They might pick historical cities and mimic them in some way,” he said.
Some of them might even have a futuristic bent.
“There would be whole new kinds of architecture,” Bezos said, adding that “these are ideal climates.”
He continued: “What does the architecture even look like when it no longer has its primary purpose of shelter? We’ll find out. These are beautiful. People are going to want to live here. And they can be close to Earth, so that you can return.”
He noted that O’Neill colonies would have to be constructed by future generations, as the technology does not exist. But he pledged to start building the infrastructure now, starting with the Blue Moon lander.
Bezos in 2016 floated the idea of putting millions of people in O’Neill cylinders and is said to have discussed it while studying at Princeton in the 1980s, according to GeekWire.
He also discussed the idea at a talk last year with Axel Springer, Business Insider’s parent company.
According to the Financial Times, Bezos said on Thursday that “if we move out into the solar system, for all practical purposes, we will have unlimited resources.”