- Jezz Bezos is currently liquidating $1 billion a year in Amazon shares to finance other work.
- He considers Blue Origin, the space company, his most important project.
- To solve energy demands, Bezos is looking to colonise space within the next few hundred years.
Amazon's success has made Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world. His company is valued at almost $125.7 billion, with another few thousand dollars being added to that figure every minute. That said, Bezos isn't on quite the same level as the likes of Bill Gates when it comes to philanthropic work. According to public data and media reports, Bezos and his family have, thus far, donated a total of $133 million to charities — that's the equivalent of almost 0.001 percent of his assets.
In an interview during the presentation of the Axel Springer Awards 2018 in Berlin, he explained what he intended to do with his money instead.
Blue Origin comes before Amazon
"Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work I am doing." said Bezos. In fact, he's currently liquidating $1 billion a year in Amazon shares to finance Blue Origin.
Space travel is much more to Bezos than a mere business venture for super-rich tourists. Bezos sees Blue Origin as a non-profit mission: he is convinced that for the good of humanity we will have to populate other planets over the next 200 years.
"I'm pursuing this because I believe if we don't, we'll eventually end up with a civilisation of stasis, which I find very demoralising." Bezos said. Taking into consideration that the populations and energy demands of countries with emerging markets, the earth will run out of electricity in the next few decades — meaning no progress nor any growth, according to his thinking.
Bezos wants to save the world — from space
The daily energy requirement per capita has increased rapidly: before industrialisation, one person consumed 24kWh per day, according to calculations by the University of Leipzig. Today, the average American requires 223kWh.
According to Bezos "if you take baseline energy usage globally and compound it at just a few percent a year for just a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the earth in solar cells — that's the real energy crisis."
In order to solve the energy problems, Bezos wants to move into space over the next 200 years and colonise other planets: "The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we have a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins, a thousand Mozarts and unlimited resources."
His hope is also to improve the quality of life on earth: "I believe in that timeframe, that we will move all heavy industry off earth and that it will be reserved for housing and light industry."
The first manned space mission is planned for the end of 2018
The plan to colonise space may sound megalomaniacal but it's already in motion. Only 15 years after Blue Origin was founded, Jeff Bezos' company beat NASA and SpaceX in the bid to launch the first reusable rocket into space in 2015 and land it back vertically on Earth. Recyclable missiles are a technology considered essential to making space travel more efficient and cost-effective, as they will be suitable for mass production.
In December 2017, the test rocket "New Shepard" flew into space for the first time. There have been no manned flights so far, but that's set to change in 2018: "We won't be selling tickets yet, but we may put humans in it in the end of this year or the beginning of next year." Bezos said in Berlin.
He also foresees his rocket "New Glenn" taking off for the first time in 2020. A "space-taxi" in essence, it's purpose is to regularly transport people from Earth into space — it's a major step in the direction of space colonisation.