- Jeff Bezos predicts that people will one day be born in space while living on outer space colonies.
- He said Wednesday that space colonies made more sense than moving to a new planet.
- Colonizing Mars is the primary goal of Elon Musk and SpaceX, Bezos' chief space rival.
In Jeff Bezos' vision of the future, people will be born in space colonies and visit Earth on vacation.
Bezos discussed space, Blue Origin's plans, and the relationship between space exploration and saving Earth during a conversation Wednesday at the 2021 Ignatius Forum in Washington, DC.
During the interview, the Amazon and Blue Origin founder expanded on his idea for space colonies: floating habitats that mimic Earth's weather and gravitational pull. The floating, spinning cylinders would be able to hold as many as 1 million people and have "rivers and forests and wildlife," he said.
"Over centuries, many people will be born in space. It will be their first home," Bezos said. "They will be born on these colonies, live on these colonies. Then, they'll visit Earth the way you would visit, you know, Yellowstone National Park."
Bezos first mentioned the idea of building space colonies as far back as his valedictorian speech at his high-school graduation, and he said Wednesday that he believed space colonies were a better option than trying to restart life on another planet.
"Even if you were to terraform Mars or do something very dramatic like that — which could be very, very challenging, by the way — even if you were to do that, that is, at most, a doubling of Earth," Bezos said. "Then you're going from 10 billion people to 20 billion people."
How to establish life outside Earth is a major point of contention between Bezos and Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Musk has said the main goal of his rocket company is to "colonize Mars," and Bezos' reference to terraforming appears to be an indirect jab at him. Musk has endorsed the straight-from-science-fiction idea, in which the planet would need to be transformed using nuclear weapons to make it habitable for humans (NASA has since said this wouldn't work).
For his part, Musk tweeted in 2019 that Bezos' plan wouldn't work, either, because you'd need 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," he said.