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posted by martyb on Sunday February 24 2019, @03:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the circular-reasoning dept.

Jeff Bezos just gave a private talk in New York. From utopian space colonies to dissing Elon Musk's Martian dream, here are the most notable things he said.

  • Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, gave a talk to a members-only event at the Yale Club in New York on Tuesday.
  • During the 30-minute lecture, Bezos said his private aerospace company, Blue Origin, would launch its first people into space aboard a New Shepard rocket in 2019.
  • Bezos also questioned the capabilities of a space tourism competitor, Virgin Galactic, and criticized the goal of Elon Musk and SpaceX to settle Mars with humans.
  • Ultimately, Bezos said he wants Blue Origin to enable a space-faring civilization where "a Mark Zuckerberg of space" and "1,000 Mozarts and 1,000 Einsteins" can flourish.
  • Bezos advised the crowd to hold a powerful, personal long-term vision, but to devote "the vast majority of your energy and attention" on shorter-term activities and those ranging up to 2- or 3-year timeframes.

[...] Bezos: I don't think we'll live on planets, by the way. I think we'll live in giant O'Neal[sic]-style space colonies. Gerard O'Neil, decades ago, came up with this idea. He asked his physics students at Princeton a very simple question, but a very unusual one, which is: Is a planetary surface the right place for humanity to expand in the solar system? And after doing a lot of work, they came back and decided the answer was "no." There's a fascinating interview with Isaac Asimov, Gerard O'Neill, and their interviewer that you can find on YouTube from many decades ago. And to Asimov, the interviewer says, "Why do you think we're so focused, then, on expanding onto other planetary surfaces?" And Asimov says, "That's simple. We grew up on a planet, we're planet chauvinists."

But the space colonies we'll build will have many advantages. The primary one is that they'll be close to Earth. The transit time and the amount of energy required to move between planets is so high. But if you have giant space colonies that are energetically close and, in terms of travel time close to Earth, then people will be able to come and go. Very few people are going to want to leave this planet permanently — it's just too amazing.

Ultimately what will happen, is this planet will be zoned residential and light industry. We'll have universities here and so on, but we won't do heavy industry here. Why would we? This is the gem of the solar system. Why would we do heavy industry here? It's nonsense.

And so over time — of course you have to today — but over time that transition will happen very naturally. It'll even be the business-smart thing to do because the energy and resources will be so much cheaper off-planet that industries will naturally gravitate to those lower-cost environments.

Previously: Jeff Bezos' Vision for Space: One Trillion Population in the Solar System
Jeff Bezos Details Moon Settlement Ambitions in Interview

Related: Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin Expects to Sell Tickets for Manned Suborbital Flights in 2019
Blue Origin Wins Contract to Supply United Launch Alliance With BE-4 Rocket Engines
New Shepard Makes 10th Launch as Blue Origin Aims to Fly Humans Late in 2019
Blue Origin Starts Construction of Rocket Engine Factory in Alabama
Blue Origin to Provide Multiple Orbital Launches for Telesat


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Sunday February 24 2019, @07:40PM (5 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday February 24 2019, @07:40PM (#806012) Journal

    Bezos wants a trillion population throughout the solar system, heavy industry based in space, and asteroid mining.

    He wants growth but with Earth primarily acting as a giant nature reserve/park.

    Asteroids are big balls of money. If they can be used to build space habitats without needing much capital from Earth, then that is exactly what will happen eventually. Habitats can use solar power, fission/fusion if necessary, and water taken from 'roids for fuel, plants, and consumption. If they can eventually get it all from space without the need for resupply from Earth, then people can "live off the land" and slowly build habitats, a process that will accelerate over time as more Starships are zipping around and habitat components are being made assembly line style.

    As the population continues to expand and the amount of available resources increases due to mining, we'll see more science, computing, and technological advances. This is where the "1,000 Einsteins" remark comes in. All of these will help to keep the expansion going and clean things up back on Earth. With many more potential physicists using more powerful tools, we will tackle all of the remaining mysteries in chemistry, physics, biology, etc. If we can make a faster-than-light drive or at least good enough propulsion to get to nearby stars, then we will start expanding to other systems. With humanity's eggs in many baskets, we'll take over the galaxy if left unchecked. The galaxy will also expand once Andromeda and other nearby galaxies merge with the Milky Way. Then you'll have a super-galaxy teeming with at least Earth-originated life, and people will continue to do their things until the Big Rip/Chill happens.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24 2019, @09:15PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24 2019, @09:15PM (#806040)

    His 1000 Einstein’s logic is flawed, in the current winner take all economy the first Einstein to grab the lead will win and win all resources. The remaining 999 Einstein’s will have to scrape by; working in Amazon warehouses. They won’t have any time for thought experiments like Einstein in the Bern patent office.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Sunday February 24 2019, @09:35PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday February 24 2019, @09:35PM (#806051) Journal

      SUBI: Space Universal Basic Income

      Give them ramen noodles, tofu, vitamin pills, and water, and they will shit out a Theory of Everything.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @02:32AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25 2019, @02:32AM (#806150)

        > SUBI: Space Universal Basic Income

        A more appropirate name would be Universal Basic Dividend. After all, the source of the revenue being taxed from the corporations came from tax money in the first place. Take the example of mobile phones [huffingtonpost.com]. Almost all of it except the packaging came from grants. So the citizens footed the bill for all the investment, they should get a slice of the dividends, even if it's a small slice. Likewise for pharmaceuticals and vehicles.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 25 2019, @03:03AM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 25 2019, @03:03AM (#806168) Journal

          Almost all of it except the packaging came from private businesses and universities.

          And cell phones would have happened anyway, even without the taint of public funding. The key driver for it was the ending of the US government-enforced AT&T monopoly, not some modest technology development that happens to have public funding cooties.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 25 2019, @12:32AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 25 2019, @12:32AM (#806104) Journal

      in the current winner take all economy the first Einstein to grab the lead will win and win all resources

      Which hasn't happened in today's "winner takes all" economy which isn't actually a winner takes all economy. That's certainly not true in the academic world which rewards many other things than being the first.