Jeff Bezos Details Vision of Colonizing the Solar System

Jeff Bezos discussed his vision to go to space to benefit Earth. He announced the Blue Moon lunar lander and provided updates on the New Shepard sub-orbital rocket and other Blue Origin activity. Jeff’s vision is for humanity to colonize space and for civilization to become primarily space-based. Industry will move to space and the resources of the solar system will be used so that growth can continue. There is billions of times the resources of the Earth in the solar system.

Blue Moon lunar lander is a large lunar lander capable of delivering multiple metric tons of payload to the lunar surface based on configuration and mission. The cargo variant revealed today can carry 3.6 metric tons to the surface. There is a larger design of the lander that can stretch to be capable of carrying a 6.5-metric-ton, human-rated ascent stage. Blue also announced it can meet the current Administration’s goal of putting Americans on the Moon by 2024 with the Blue Moon lunar lander.

BE-7 engine: The Blue Moon lunar lander will be powered by the BE-7 engine, a new addition to Blue Origin’s family of engines. The BE-7’s 40 kN (10,000 lbf) thrust is designed for large lunar payload transport. The engine’s propellants are a highly-efficient combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The BE-7 will have its first hotfire this summer. The engine will be available for sale to other companies for use in in-space and lander applications.

Club For the Future: A non-profit founded by Blue Origin dedicated to inspiring and engaging the next generation of dreamers and space entrepreneurs as we journey to preserve Earth and unlock the potential of living and working in space. The Club will bring together K-12 students, educators and leaders for campaigns and initiatives utilizing Blue Origin’s unique access to space. The Club’s first activity will be to send a postcard to space and back on a future New Shepard mission—the first ever space mail. Learn more on the website ( Follow @ClubforFuture on Twitter and Instagram.

New Glenn Heavy Rocket

The New Glenn is a heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle in development by Blue Origin. Design work on the vehicle began in 2012. The vehicle itself, and the high-level specifications, were initially publicly unveiled in September 2016. New Glenn is described as a two-stage rocket with a diameter of 7 meters (23 ft). Its first stage will be powered by seven BE-4 engine.

In October 2018, the Air Force announced Blue Origin was awarded $500 million for development of New Glenn as a potential competitor in future contracts, including EELV Phase 2. There were plans for first tests to start in 2020.

The first stage of the Blue Origin New Glenn is designed to be reused 25 times and has a large 7-meter fairing.

The New Glenn will lift 45 metric tons to lower earth orbit (LEO) and 13 metric tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).

SOURCES- Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos
Written By Brian Wang,

193 thoughts on “Jeff Bezos Details Vision of Colonizing the Solar System”

  1. Yes, and several have been much more powerful…but they enter the atmosphere at random…and usually not exploding 1,000 feet above the center of a major city. Luckily the Chelyabinsk meteorite exploded 97,000 feet in the air rather than a thousand or two feet above the city.
    Of course, if one ever did do that above a major city like Tokyo, Paris, Moscow, or Beijing, no one would think it was an accident. There would be conspiracy stuff for decades if not centuries.
    The Tunguska event was much more devastating at the ground level, luckily that was one of the least populated land areas on the planet. Whatever can flatten 770 square miles of forest could certainly do the same to houses and businesses.

    But I have to go with him, nuclear war is much worse unless you live in the boonies and away from military targets. And after an astroid impact or asteroid/comet explosion, people will come and help from all over. After nukes, you can look forward to invading armies…hoping to pick off the survivors. And the survivers would arm themselves, and not trust any aid workers that did show up. That could be very bad. If aid workers are being shot, less will come, air drops will be horded, and people will starve.

  2. More than 1 million asteroids with more than 500m diameter.
    The wikipedia list, aside for the largest objects, is a list of

  3. And Area 51 was full of frozen Nazi rocket scientists who were
    thawed and given to SpaceX in exchange for Crew Dragon,
    hence their new wunderwaffe style.

  4. Plenty of room to build new cities. And the new cities can be much better than the old. Properly planned you can save a lot of money. Tunnels can be dug quickly and cheaply from above before any buildings go up and roads put in. Pipes and conduit put in an accessible manner, where you don’t have to tear up the street. and by anticipating and zoning rationally all the conduits pipes and whatever can already be in place.

    With people moving from the old cities to the new you can start to address problems that would be too difficult with heavy traffic.

  5. Yes. Substantially, you have to select for people
    who get along well. And with strong reproductive/parental drive.

  6. While intelligence is useful, what you want to avoid is hotheads, careless/reckless people, people easily board, inconsiderate people, people prone to vandalism/thievery, people more generally attracted to violence, people prone to psychoses, antisocial people, and such, as you want to avoid accidents. You need careful, considerate thinking, people. They need to be considering the consequences of everything, and staying alert when they are doing things with any risk involved. And they must have a very perceptive mind in recognizing risk.

    Contemptuous people, vindictive people, aggressive people, us and themers, people obsessed with thinking the worst of people, and people obsessed with power could also be a problem, as you want to avoid riots, sabotage and other political chaos.

    You don’t want a bunch of people with a well developed sense of entitlement, ungratefulness, people who look down on laborers, job shirkers/ people who lie to their bosses about the work they are directed to do. Anyone at any time may need to be called upon. They need to be willing and eager. They need a strong sense of responsibility toward the group. You get a bunch of slacker lying about doing maintenance, or too big of snobs to do labor that is needed in a pinch, and things could turn catastrophic.

    You need people who speak and read the same language. Though obviously, you can have many different colonies each with different languages. You need ease and accuracy in communication.

  7. The value won’t plummet much because, as you have said,
    it is costly to work in space. Only risk for the miners is that
    it is too costly.

  8. Not only if I were Musk. Also if I were the banks. Raise the price of gold by increasing its scarcity, and then make
    even more money lending to the mining companies
    and using it to hoard even more gold…

  9. Its utility doesn’t matter. As long as extracting it costs less
    than its price, it will be extracted. If I were Elon Musk, I would
    hoard precious metals, in order to raise their price, and then
    get even richer selling space transportation to the miners
    ( modern day picks and shovels for the modern day Gold Race).

  10. I believe they will. And it will be just like that. The technology we develop for space will be fully applicable here. It is all a matter of using fission or geothermal to make and operate large underground cities. Well lit, comfortable, regular day and night lighting, stunning views that change day to day (or perhaps by the week), optimal moisture, protection from most natural disasters, protection from missiles/bombs, no sun damaged skin, no worry about the economy as everything is produced as needed with regularity and recycled…no crop worries. Did frost kill soybeans? Any of these kinds of questions are silly. If they are made self-sustaining, possibly even self-maintaining, it could be a fantastic place to live. You get population gain…build more. They can be made all over the planet and perhaps 2 to 8 deep depending on the tectonic plate involved. Nothing standing in the way of trillions in Earth. And, in the Moon just as many perhaps a lot more as it has a far thicker solid surface. And the weight above is less. And, of course, there are many other places out where we could build these things.
    We could really optimize things physiologically. Days don’t have to be 24 hours, maybe 25 is better, maybe 23. Whatever seems to work the best can be done. Same with the relative amount of day vs night. And every cave city does not have to be the same. You can move to one that is more like summer every day or fall or spring. Not many winter ones, I suspect.

  11. Its value is in its scarcity not its utility. And as soon as they know it is available in large quantities, the value plummets. Though they will still want to fill their little steel boxes with it. Or they will switch to Rhodium.
    Getting it does not benefit society, just the companies bringing it to Earth. In fact, overall, it is negative. Other constructive things could be done with the assets and engineering hours…like working on cultured food and synthesized food. Let’s say you were an Inka, then bright long feathers would have high value to you. But what are you going to do with them? Gold is no different. Gold was great because you could make detailed things that don’t corrode. Umm. We can do that. You have a whole drawer full of that in the kitchen called stainless steel silverware. The rest is mostly psychological. Cold safety blankets for the neurotic. Though, as I said, gold makes the best tooth fillings, and electrical contacts. Platinum has a lot of scientific/chemical uses.

    In my opinion, even gold and platinum mines on Earth are a waste as long as the metals lay unused in steel boxes. Rather sad actually.

  12. Sorry, but the ideal place for space tourism
    is the Moon. You also get orbital tourism
    while waiting in parking orbit.

  13. If you dumped a cargo plane of custard powder, the collective surface area of all those particles would exceed the surface area of the Earth. Meaningless measurement.

    We can actually dig, you know. Even if you are talking volume of whatever down to 800 feet, your number is going to shrink dramatically. And 50,000 is not “billions” either…which was the whole point of this conversation…in case you missed it.

    I count 582 barren rocks (no atmosphere) that might be mineable with a diameter of 500m or more. None of those are remotely the size of the Earth. The rest of the stuff couldn’t add up to one Earth (though, my count might be a little off…distracted by good music

  14. I mentioned iron. Silicon is temporarily useful for solar and computer chips. Both will be quickly grown out of. Perovskites are already better and cheaper for solar. Just a matter of settling on a design (hard to get investment if something is advancing super fast…which it is…because you get locked in too early) scaling up production. Computer chips will likely move to gallium nitride in the next 15 years, and then onto graphene and carbon nanotubes.
    That is not to say silicon will not have uses, just that we won’t have to go anywhere to find it. So, there is no point to mining it on distant asteroids even if you are living on an asteroid like Ceres. There is only so much need for fiberglass, glass, and fiber optics (if we still need that), and other applications (alloys, lubricants, sealants and abrasives mostly). Plenty right where you are at. Some plants need it and it looks like there is a very small nutritional requirement even for humans, which is probably met by eating one vegetable a month…so no one fusses much about it. Though it would be wise to put a small amount in the feeding systems for comma patients. But I am on a rabbit track.
    In mining, you pick the ore that will be cheapest to process and extract what you are after. You go somewhere else for something else. You don’t separate rocks into all their constituent elements.

  15. Also, they are not going to take everything in the asteroid. They are going to pulverize it bit by bit, take what has value and discard the rest. Thing is, it is now a crushed dust-ball, which could be very hazardous. Are they going to bind the crud together, so it is not a hazard? Not likely. Just trying to approach it could lead to little bits orbiting it whacking your spacecraft and doing a lot of damage.

  16. What are you going to build with astronomical amounts of heavy elements? Gold and platinum are used as an air displacer in metal boxes. And for some jewelry. There are certainly practical uses, but I don’t see them being used for these purposes any more than they are now. The rich will continue to horde the stuff, like they can eat it in some coming collapse of society. This stuff, especially gold, should be used as a tooth filler…and used for virtually every electrical contact.

    And you make it sound like it will be easy to mine surfaces that have almost zero gravity. It won’t be. You start digging at the surface and stuff will go everywhere. The Moon is out best choice. It is close and has enough gravity to keep things from turning into a big dust cloud you can’t even see through. The surface on these asteroids could also be very unstable easily trapping robots or people if you brought people.

    Big asteroids? Ok, but I think making civilization is preferable. Mine as needed. Build communities on these worlds. Spaceships? Sure. But there is no reason to collect precious metals and return them to Earth.

    I am a big fan of space colonization, I am just calling the “billions and billions” bull.

  17. The first to go will work a lot, but the reward will be big.
    People migrating in the Far West had an harsher life but they earned much more than the people left on the East Coast (or Old Europe).

  18. Yes, you can do both. But, if you dare do an O’Neill then Mars will inexorably be relegated to the role of Antarctica in winter.

  19. The Mars folks are praying rotating habitats isn’t a thing, if 1 ever gets built it will mean the end of the Mars terraforming dream.

  20. Even a communist state would have to justify the expenses. Just because it is communist and some things are provided by the government for free it doesn’t mean that there no economic or budget constraints. There is a reason CCCP didn’t send a man to moon. Too expensive, and pointless to get the second best place…

    When spending resources on something it should come with promise of some benefit. (if not direct ROI it could be either avoiding expenses, disaster, or some other improvements)

  21. There is not much life within the Earth to protect. We could have automated mining machines that dig in a bubble so to speak. They dig and process right there refining collecting whatever mineral then the rest they compress behind them. No, serious mining damage. And when it mines molten stuff it can do the same. It can just separate out what is desired, and discard the rest.

  22. Yes, but we have to remember that a world
    where mean (not median) wealth is around $50k per person looks more like a Hunger Games world than a post-scarcity world.

  23. I didn’t see the movie, but I think that Elysium
    included the super-rich. No, the super-rich
    are going to keep living in Monaco or Beverly Hills.

  24. What is wrong is spitting on the poor, getting
    satisfaction from the unfortunates’ lack of means.

  25. Where did I say that it was wrong? I was just
    tentatively describing the target audience of
    O’ Neill’s books.

  26. Anti-aging genetic technology is on the horizon. Maybe we wont want high birth rates in space.

  27. Unnatural selection is more probable. Genetic engineering is going to be important for making humans more suitable for low-G, high radiation, low oxygen and low pressure environments. It wont be held back like it is on the home world by religious, conservative, traditionalist majorities.

  28. Mars and Luna need to be colonized first in order get the experience and build up the infrastructure and resources needed for larger space structures like O’Neil habitats.

  29. Pedantically, the treaty has only suspended claims to the territory. The claims still exist and overlap, just are not currently being pushed by the claimants. A situation that will last as long as ALL of the claimants continue to agree.

  30. I think there’s a few more things we could point to lowering the fertility rate, and considering that the stock market can work just as well as social security for retirement needs, I don’t think a policy fix would be simple even if governments had the support of the voters.

    That said, we’d probably agree more than we’d disagree if we really got into this subject. The main thing I’m wanting to highlight though, is that if we don’t have the social will to change that here, why would we have the social will to do it on Mars?

    You can imagine it happening in some kind of emergency government after the Earth nukes itself and there’s no alternative or something. But we need to get the colony going while the Earth is still here. And in these political/economic conditions, why would that emerge?

  31. We live in an age when a whole bunch of things: software projects, movies, educational youtube programs, this website… get built mostly for fun, with maybe a profit in the long run for some participants, if it works out to be popular and they work out how to monetize it.

    And, of that list, all of them would be considered near impossible high-tech wonders to a person in 1819 trying to imagine the future 200 years hence.

  32. Modern government taxation is still “in theory” justified by a large and predictable profit pathway. Remembering that votes=money when averaged over a large population.

  33. There is a lot of reasons to want data from mammals not insects when you are trying to extrapolate to humans.

  34. But if all they get in trade for their health problems is a high risk environment, cramped living in government housing, and low access to goods and services

    Call it a university campus and they’ll go deep into debt to make it there.

  35. Sudden desire for an SF character who grew up in cloud cities who has BIZZARE psych problems.

    Fear of falling in any situation when they don’t have walls on every side.

    Absolute HORROR of a breeze. Breeze = outside = toxic corrosive

    And you think humans, with our distant arboreal ancestry, have a thing about up=good, down=bad? Well you haven’t seen someone where down = literally being crushed/burned/dissolved.

  36. Yes, Las Vegas offered 2 things

    1. Cheap land with available (but not free) water and power
    2. A way to do an end run around the law in nearby population centers.

    It’s quite possible that those two will exist in space.

  37. More in keeping with historical precedent: If it currently costs $33k/y to keep a criminal in prison, then at $100k it’s cheaper to send them to Mars for any sentence longer than 3-5.

  38. I think the reason most developed countries have fallen so far below replacement isn’t high effort, it’s the socalization of old age support. The traditional reason for raising children was to have support in your old age. Old age pensions have created the illusion that you can be supported in your old age without children, but they’ve just made children into a commons, and thus under produced.

    The right policies could undo that mistake. It’s just not politically feasible to back out of this bad policy in an existing democracy.

  39. Seriously, a station just to test the effects of 38% gravity would be a half billion, tops, and could be re-purposed afterwards.

    I’ve estimated you could do it with one Falcon heavy launch.

  40. All cryogenic fuel (with hard cryo LH2) seems like a real negative, considering the number of thermal penetrations and cooling requirements. A lot of the general mission architecture seems like a load-and-go design, which also caps landed payload mass. Why so allergic to refueling before TLI though? WIth a reusable launcher, there shouldn’t be any trepidation towards fuel depots.

  41. You know, I bet there will. It’s not like Space Fascists are going to force us all into the computer or something. Probably.

  42. Well, I guess you’re right on that one. Because delaying things for safety studies is the sort of things governments like to get into, and no government has any plan or timetable for colonizing Mars at all anyway.

    All we’ve got is Musk, and he doesn’t seem to care. It seems like he’ll be happy to just send anyone who hands him the money. The FAA might block him from launching if he doesn’t have a man-rated vehicle, but once he’s cleared to send people for trips that last a few years, there isn’t really any further mechanism to make sure he brings them back if they have the ability and desire to stay. A little positive data ahead of time might make the sale a little easier though.

  43. There’s another dimension I think we should take into account too – cost of living. It’s a weird concept because the Martian economy wouldn’t be very connected to the Earth financial system, but still. In one way or another, people’s efforts must pay for their consumption.

    On Mars we have an environment where everywhere everyone lives needs much more engineering and maintenance effort than any environment on Earth. A new family can’t just move into a cheap new stick and plywood house and expect free air. The colonists have to be highly productive to manage this.

    On Earth, the way we do things is that after childhood people pay as they go – our whole system for motivating people to stay productive is built on this. And if your environment costs too much – say, you live in Manhattan where a modest living environment costs a million plus – this means you delay forming a family until you’ve accumulated enough production. And this also means that the reproduction rate in environments like Manhattan is way below replacement.

    Is it really possible to maintain replacement reproduction rates in a high effort environment like Mars? We haven’t managed it in any developed country.

  44. I’m not sure I would call that sufficient from a colonization standpoint, because we aren’t in a position where a government is going to fiat colonization into existence by sending draftees or criminals. As things stand, it has to be sufficient not just for people to survive and reproduce, but for them to want to go there of their own free will, and stay there, to survive and reproduce.

    Right now it seems like we’d have no shortage of takers because people are enthusiastic in the period of unrealistic expectations, but soon enough comes the trough of disillusionment. After that, Mars has to actually be a good enough sell for people to want to go. A downgrade in lifespan makes that… difficult.

  45. When I say government housing, you are apparently imagining something different than I mean. I mean that the colony has a government, of one form or another. The habitat within it is built and administered by that colony. It is government housing.

    As far as natural selection taking care of the problematic health issues… people aren’t dogs and don’t like being told they should die like one to better the gene pool. Natural selection is always active on some level or another, but it exists in a context of human choice interacting with our environments. We typically just choose not to hang out in highly selective environments.

    But whatever. If you’re certain you would like to die an early death, and subject your children to the same so that they can live a meager existence in space, then I suppose that proves Mars will have takers.

  46. The point is not comparing PLANETS.

    The point is comparing ASTEROIDS with planets. Most heavy elements sunk to the core and concentrations in areas accessible to mining are small.

    On asteroids, you can basically mine them in their entirety, and the concentrations of the stuff we want to mine is quite higher.

  47. That’s definitely one of the possible futures. Maybe there’ll be room for a person to live some combination of all possible lifestyles.

  48. If you’re using the steel on Mars, converting that rust to steel probably makes sense. If you’re using it in orbit, I think the energy considerations favor the asteroids.

    The point is, though, people will be going to different places to do different things.

  49. I expect that, rather early in Mars colonization, the colonists will take exception to being bound by antique Earthly treaties.

  50. is it just me, or does bezo have death ear when it comes to naming products?
    “Cabra”, “Fire table”, “Fire phone”, .. come on… they are terrible name… “blue moon” … umm…taken already… “new glen”…or “new shepard” err…. need i say more? sounds like a better name for a sheep or farm animal… “kindle”… for all of us book burners out there… always need some kindling wood… no better way to burn some books then with a few kindle tablets to get it going at 495 degrees farienheight

  51. Even If that were true, what exactly is wrong with that?

    The age where the need for the labors of the unskilled masses is coming to an end. Different peoples have different priorities and objectives. Why should those with the means, who have no interest in trying to change your mind or stay and fight over it, be forced to do just that. Everyone has the right to walkaway.

    American upper middle class does want to and have separated themselves from the lower classes. The separating wall is called money, it expresses itself in the form of gated communities, property values, price of a cup coffee etc. It does not extend to going into space, I’m willing to guess most of the human race isn’t even aware of the existence of the concept of the O’Neill cylinder and it’s varied cousins.

  52. Because Anctartica isn’t the most convenient spot on this planet.
    What is wrong with your brain?

  53. they might get floating tincan in space idea to work… its potentially better than living on moon because they can create artifical gravity by spinning the can to get closer to earth G’s… the main problem is lack of resources in a tin can… which can be solved by visiting the near by moon to mine some materials… obviously they can’t park these things next to the earth and expect to keep sending resources from earth to orbit… it costs too much, but from moon to floating tin can would be relatively cheap due to low fuel requirement…. they could park these tincans next to moons through out the solar system…and visit these moons once a week to bring back materials from mining operations… but i dont thnk they would use natural light… too much radiation,,, they would grow plants in green houses using natural light LED panels..

  54. Mars and Moon can use Space elevators, we have stuff strong enough for that (not for Earth and Venus, for now).

  55. What you misunderstand is, with the resources available in space, every low middle class guy there will be comparable to a multi-millionaire on Earth.

    RE: between cheap and free
    material resources: cheap and cheaper as time goes on and infrastructure grow.
    energy resources: need more, harvest more (until Dyson sphere).

  56. Natural selection will take care of health problems, if they are important enough.
    I don’t think they will have government housing on Mars (not initially, for sure), because there is no way a government can micromanage a place two-years away from it.

    The initial colony could be a few hundreds to a few thousands of people, very hard people, selected for their skills and personality.

    They could live together, initially, but they will spread out as soon as possible and practical for them.

    The colonists will need a very high degree of mechanization to survive and thrive in the Mars environment (or any other outer space environment). If you need tens or hundreds square meters of industry and farming for every colonist, then the colonists have space to live comfortably with their family without being crammed in government housing for bums

  57. 0.01% of world population would be like 800.000 persons.
    Take the 10% more intelligent/etc.
    It is 70K people to start.

    Not bad.

  58. Personally, I sort of think AI is also very attainable, and once we have that and nanomachinery, it seems like we’d have a path to uploading. So I figure the path of least resistance will ultimately end up being a largely digital society. There might be space habitats, but mostly solid state.

    And the people inside them will experience a level of post-scarcity that we can scarcely dream of.

  59. Scarcity doesn’t have to be zero to be negligible.
    Building things is not going to stop being a thing humans do.

  60. Antarctica is covered by a treaty, while space is not. Meanwhile, Bezos is speaking to a very long timeline for his vision of colonizing space. By that time – who knows, Antarctica may be heavily colonized by then.

  61. Anyone who would rather live on a frozen, radiation blasted, lifeless, airless desert, than share a nice planet like Earth with his cousins, is welcome to leave

  62. Fair enough. Not to mention thin atmosphere that lets spacecraft exit the accelerator at full speed close to the surface.

    I also like the rotovator idea since it is good at taking spacecraft *out* of orbit as well as flinging them out into orbit and beyond. Being able to land space craft cheaply is actually rather hard on Mars due to that same thin atmosphere. Should probably set up a rotovator soon before the orbits get too crowded.

    The distance is an issue to Mars. Moon should be the first step. And a rotovator would be a game changer there as well.

  63. I have, but it is more like the Stanford Torus than the O’Neill concept. The former is doughnut shaped, and the latter is more like a pill capsule – cylinder with hemispherical end caps

  64. There is approximately 50,000 x the surface area of earth surface area in the Solar System after removing gas giants and the Sun.

  65. A precursor could be a hollowed out asteroid. Spun for gravity. Using its own resources, or the resources from near enough (considering said asteroid’s position in the solar system’s gravity wells map) sources.

    If it’s so difficult for these zero sum debates over Mars, Moon, etc, it’s probably because in the first place the premise is wrong. They’re not mutually exclusive, but complementary.

  66. Since the locals cant actually own the territory their Mars city is built upon, nothing to stop the Greenfly Corp from strip mining the place to churn out cylinders. 🙂

  67. Says someone living in the early 21st century, still deep behind post-scarcity threshold and behind many layers of yet to happen unknown unknowns.

    The soviet union in every day life, as compared to your chosen reference (current day American upper half classes), was different but the same. Indians’ cast system, same story. Japanese, same. Everywhere you go the dynamic you describe exists.

    Every human wants a life with a max of what they want and a min of what they don’t want. Which tends overall to be a lot of leisure and other fulfilling experiences, and very little misery. A lot like Maslow described.

    The debate over which one is better, Mars, Moon, smaller bodies, free floating manmade habs, is too often needlessly myopic. It could be any or all of those, and history will just follow whatever the path of least resistance is, as it always had, even if that path is excessively sinuous and possibly very fractal looking.

    But barring some show stopper like unavoidable terrorism (you can accelerate a dark enough impactor from e.g. the Oort cloud to relativistic speeds) or whatever, free floating habs are a matter of when not if.
    Because post scarcity (negligible enough scarcity) is very attainable once we make the solar system’s resources useful. Curing aging, same deal. Figuring out fusion power, same. Nanomanufacturing and demanufacturing, same.

  68. About 5% of asteroids are the “metallics”, fragments of, or in the case of 16 Psyche, the whole core of a protoplanet. Iron is denser than rock, so it always sinks to the core of large bodies. It takes with it nickel and cobalt, which are chemically compatible, with typical abundance of 90% Fe, 9% Ni, and 1% Co.

    The “Stony” group are the inverse, the mantle and crust rocks, which are basically metallic oxides. Last are the Chondrites, which are the most numerous. These are the ones that were never involved in high energy impacts or got too close to the Sun. They are undifferentiated particles (chondrules) glued together with low boiling-point compounds. Some of those have significant amounts (up to 20%) water and carbon compounds similar to “kerogen”, the precursor to petroleum.

    So you are quite incorrect about asteroids being undifferentiated. They come in different flavors.

    Then there’s the oddballs, like Ceres. It is big enough and wet enough to have “cryovulcanism” (ice volcanoes) The water carries various dissolved compounds, which plate out leaving concentrated sulfides and carbonates.

  69. What other practical world view is there? The only other one I know of is government taxation. But governments have a hard enough time getting tax money just to upgrade the bridges and highways in their own territory. There’s no way the citizens could be forced to pay for some huge, pointless (to them) structure in outer space. Okay, maybe a communist state, or a dictatorship would. Is that what you have in mind?

  70. The prevailing world view is nothing should exists unless there is a large and predictable profit pathway relative to risk. I don’t expect such structures will ever be built while such a world view hold sway. There will always be easier and less risky ways to make money.

  71. Gravity wells aren’t that big a problem if they are *small* gravity wells, like the Moon and Mars. You can mechanically throw stuff off the Moon, and there’s a volcano on Mars’ equator that you can build an accelerator track 120 km long if you want. You can reach orbital velocity within human g tolerance, with no propellant needed.

  72. I assume it’s sized to fit in the New Glen, and that, refuelling, it could make multiple trips to lunar orbit or GTO to pick up more loads. If so, it should be able to handle a moon base by itself.

  73. Iron is useful (structural elements); silicon is also useful (solar cells, computing substrates).

    The “You are looking for some mineral/element” thing is because currently we only use a small fraction of the total mass available. It isn’t a necessary fact about how things work.

  74. No, we don’t have to discount other interiors, since the existence of a large population on Earth leads to environmental protection regulations and such which would probably be less stringent on an unpopulated planet.

  75. Context is important. When people are talking about resources and space, they’re usually not referring to regular rocks and they’re almost always referring to “easily” recoverable kind when it comes to natural resources.

    Earth mass: Iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicon (15.1%),
    magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1.8%), calcium (1.5%), and
    aluminum (1.4%)=98.8%

    Assume he wasn’t referring to those particular resources.

    Personally, comfortable living space is a precious resource; One could create billions more of it out in space by converting the dumb mass of Mars into O’Neill cylinders(the kind without windows)

  76. Generally you need 20 generations of strong
    selection to obtain good adaptation, for any species.

  77. Here’s the closest thing to an actually realistic O’Neill colony I’ve ever seen, and even that is way off in the future. So many people writing here seem to think huge structures are essentially free simply because they’ve become possible due to innovations like reusability. No, unless a communist government is paying for them, they are investments, which have to be paid back with interest. Ie. they have to make a profit. But this one looks like it actually could at some point.

  78. How about drosophila instead? Faster lifespans, easy to care for, a smaller centrifuge would work, no ethics objections. You can investigate effects on lifespan and fertility for the first generation, and they breed fast enough that you can see if they start to adapt to it a few generations in.

  79. It’s not that hard to have a rotating module on the ISS to house some rat cages for a year. Trillion dollars is the weirdest hyperbole. Even a rotating set of Bigelow habs for human tests wouldn’t cost anywhere near that much.

  80. Las Vegas wasn’t just a place to go to live. It only existed because the mafia was making a huge amount of money out of it. Infrastructure isn’t free. It’s only built for a guaranteed profit. Unless you’re thinking of a communist state.

  81. In a business, every little thing and every little action, whether performed by a person or a robot, costs. Building such an immense, complicated structure costs an enormous number of things and actions. Compare it to a car factory that’s completely automated. And say the factory has access to its own free mountain of ore of all the kinds necessary to build cars. The ore has to be mined and refined and turned into metals. That’s a number of other factories having to be built, tripling the initial cost. Then the car factory itself and its robots have to be built from those metals. Another couple factories and their robots, plus the cost of all the intellectual capital. Finally you can put together everything, the car factory and its robots, and turn out cars. Well, you had better sell a LOT of cars, and continuously, and more all the time, as Tesla is trying to do, or you will not begin to make a dent in what you’ve borrowed to build all this. And if you don’t, and fast enough, it all shuts down. Bankrupt. Well, this toroid won’t be turning out cars. At best it’ll have a few hotel rooms it can make a few dollars on. You are going to say the people living there are making money in space industries elsewhere. If that’s what it’s all depending on, those people should just build cheap towns on whatever world they’re working on and live there instead. The cost of housing would be SOOO much cheaper. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve fantasized about O’Neill structures for decades too.

  82. In a business, every little thing and every little action, whether performed by a person or a robot, costs. Building such an immense, complicated structure costs an enormous number of things and actions. Compare it to a car factory that’s completely automated. And say the factory has access to its own free mountain of ore of all the kinds necessary to build cars. The ore has to be mined and refined and turned into metals. That’s a number of other factories having to be built, tripling the initial cost. Then the car factory itself and its robots have to be built from those metals. Another couple factories and their robots, plus the cost of all the intellectual capital. Finally you can put together everything, the car factory and its robots, and turn out cars. Well, you had better sell a LOT of cars, and continuously, and more all the time, as Tesla is trying to do, or you will not begin to make a dent in what you’ve borrowed to build all this. And if you don’t, and fast enough, it all shuts down. Bankrupt. Well, this toroid won’t be turning out cars. At best it’ll have a few hotel rooms it can make a few dollars on. You are going to say the people living there are making money in space industries elsewhere. If that’s what it’s all depending on, those people should just build cheap towns on whatever world they’re working on and live there instead. The cost of housing would be SOOO much cheaper. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve fantasized about O’Neill structures for decades too.

  83. I look at the Solar System as a real estate development project. What was Las Vegas before the city was built? Just a worthless part of the Mohave Desert. Hoover Dam supplied electricity and water, and now you have 2.2 million people living there.

    Once basic infrastructure is in place, people will move to a place. Some people want to live in the desert, others in Alaska. Some will want to live in space. We don’t all have to want the same things.

  84. Technically, steel is 0.2 to 2% carbon, while metallic asteroids are an iron-nickel-cobalt alloy. So you need to add a pinch of carbon to get actual steel. Fortunately there are “carbonaceous” type asteroids that have plenty of carbon.

    What the carbon does is make the steel harder, but also more brittle. Depending on your use case, you can select the right amount of carbon to add. 4% carbon gives you cast iron, which is very brittle, but has a low melting point and is easy to machine. Historically it was used for engine blocks and other heavy machinery.

  85. About 6,000 people *do* live on Antarctica at any given moment, between all the various science stations and bases. But by treaty nobody can claim it as territory and settle it, so no permanent residents.

  86. You are completely off the mark here. A 10,000 person colony has been estimated to be 10 million tons. Lunar mining has a mass return ratio of 3000:1, so that implies 3,333 tons of mining equipment. The SpaceX Starship has a payload of 100 tons, so 33 flights. One Starship is designed for hundreds of flights. So you only need one of them in theory.

    Sure, you need more than just mining equipment to set up your industry, but even allowing for 20,000 tons of production equipment, that is still just one rocket making 200 flights.

  87. The asteroids are rock ore, some rich and some poor. They have to be assayed and sorted by value. Delta V will be acceptable for some and not for others for a long time.

    Time to send out the robot drone asteroid prospectors. If they find something they turn on a radio beacon announcing the find, and move on to the next asteroid.

    It’s a long term proposition and will cost billions to retrieve many trillions in value.

  88. I’ve been working on “seed factories” for several years, which are related to self-replicating ones.

    The difference is you have a starter set (the seed) which is used to build more/larger/different machines to expand, and it doesn’t need to be 100% automated. Remote controlled from Earth with a few people on site for the hard tasks is good enough.

    Half a dozen machine tools plus a metallic asteroid for feedstock is enough to get started.

  89. We can provide 1-g on a planetary surface if we need it. Just set up a merry-go-round or circular rail track, and spend as many hours as needed for health on it.

  90. Mars had active geology and water in its early history. Therefore it should have some concentrated ores. Coupled to a small gravity well, it can serve as a source of specialized materials. Even with O’Neill type habitats, it is a useful place to set up shop.

    I think Phobos would be a useful starting point, then going down to the surface later.

  91. With any kind of mining you are looking for some mineral/element. You are not going to empty the Earth. You could extract large amounts of nickle and iron, and not effect the Earth much as long as the metal was sent into space. You don’t want that mass sitting on the crust where it could destabilize it. You could even replace the mass with worthless mass from other bodies. More silicon or whatever. Make another continent or two.

    But in reality I would much rather mine the Moon and build spacecraft there.

  92. If you discount the Earth interior, you have to discount the interior of the other planets and the Sun. Still very far from billions.

    We mine down about 2.5 miles on Earth, we could probably go about 3 miles down with human labor. But with something very achievable with modern robotics, probably 30 miles on the continental plates. Much less in the oceanic plates maybe 4 miles. But as we are talking future, maybe we could harvest magma as long as it was 3,500 degrees K or less with current materials (heat of rocket nozzles…and maybe you could have some cooling/insulating tech inside). That would make the whole mantel available to us. Maybe 3/4 of the planet. The outer core and inner core would still be too hot. The crushing pressure? The devises could be composed entirely of incompressible solids and liquids.

    Most of the mass of the Solar System not counting the Sun is in the 4 large gaseous planets (98.4%). Those have large gravity wells and your equipment would be crushed under the atmospheric pressure before you got to any of the good stuff. Most of it is in Jupiter (70.3%) which also has intense radiation and high temperatures.

    If we used the future stuff I speculated was possible to mine the mantel of Earth, sure, some of Jupiter and the other large gaseous planets would also be available. But any way you cut it (if you are fair), you are not going to reach billions of times the resources on Earth.

  93. So, ⊕1.

    I’ve long felt that before “colonizing space” the Gold Standard is to send 25 or so largish rockets, with food, resources, generators, power plant, 400 people, pop-up huts, communications jiggies, medical facilities, hydroponics starter equipment, first to The Antarctic.

    There, the craft land, passengers debark, and they cannibalize their craft for dual-use materials, and set up shop.

    No one to visit them for 3 years. PERIOD. Like Mars.

    Specifically, their destination must be one of the Antarctic “Dry Valleys”, so that they have fairly realistic H₂O resources.  

    The advantage of course is that the DV destination simulates conditions (sort-of) on Mars or Moon or just Space itself.

    If our intrepid sim-spacers can get their shît together, they’ll be growing food in a jiffy, making water from condensed H₂O vapor, setting up huge power arrays with their comported PV and perhaps small nuclear reactor.

    All doable.  

    IF at the end of 1,000 days, they’re still alive (one big IF), and prospering relatively well, I should think the discoveries of what-all didn’t work out so well would be critical for designing the actual LUNAR version of the same thing. 

    40 even larger rockets, 750 people, all the hooha’s required to make a stab at surviving Luna for 3 years. Unlike the Antarctic mission, they could receive resupply ships every few months (say 20 more space tugs) to make up for in-situ shortcomings.  

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

  94. Maybe. Its not like most asteroids are “enriched” in particularly valuable compounds. Most are just rubble-piles, the rubble itself microscopically composed of yet more undifferentiated rubble. Just like Moon dust.

  95. It’s like the usual cycle for colonizing/expansion on Earth. Once you’ve got somebody there exploiting some rare resource, other people show up to house and feed and entertain them, and it snowballs.

  96. Understand that people have a diversity of motives, and colonizing space doesn’t require that everybody want to go there, 0.01% of the population being interested would be plenty.

    When the new world was colonized, most people stayed in their home countries, too.

  97. Once we’re in space in a serious way, people will be doing things for a variety of purposes. Some of those planets and moons will be better suited for, but for some of them the asteroids will be best.

    For instance, if what you want is steel, you can’t beat the asteroids, there are some that are just made of the stuff.

  98. “But why bother even then, when they still have the whole of Mars and the Moon to cheaply colonize?”
    Because neither have sufficient gravity for current human bodies?
    You can make your own gravity. There is no advantage to building colonies on Mars or the Moon vs in space but there are a lot of DISadvantages.

  99. I think they’re stuck in the same paradigm. You have abundant fuel, energy and material in space. It’s just a matter of bootstrapping the manufacturing and then it just goes on its own.
    No one is proposing building a bridge across the Pacific here. This is in space and once you get launch costs down, all you have to do is launch the manufacturing arm into space. The rest of it i s up there already.

  100. Says who? Once launch costs are down and you have a large army of robots and solar power in space, where is the rest of the cost?
    You have no cost of labor except upfront capital and maintenance.
    You have no current cost on material because no one has staked a claim on it.
    You have no cost on energy except for the solar panels.
    So where is this figure of “more money than America has” coming from?

  101. The infrastructure requirements for living in space are high enough that O’Neil colonies are basically infeasible without Von Neumann machines, self-replicating factories.

    OTOH, once you’ve got those, they’re easier to do than Mars colonies.

    I think that has to be a key technology for developing space, and one we ought to be pouring a lot of effort into developing. We’re closer to accomplishing it than most people realize.

    Not Drexler’s desktop replicators, of course, but “clunking replicators” the size of cities, using conventional manufacturing processes, only automated.

  102. And the cost of the effort involved in manipulating it, which we don’t yet know. But yes, extrapolating from the Earth economic environment is inaccurate in the long term.

  103. Well, that IS “sufficient”, from a colonization standpoint. I would expect that a few generations would have things sorted out, even if genetic engineering didn’t come to the rescue.

    But I keep hammering this: We really need to do some orbital testing of partial gravity, to answer these questions BEFORE we decide where to colonize. If people need something close to 1G to be healthy, colonizing Mars could actually be harder than colonizing some airless body with lower gravity, (The Moon or asteroids.) where building rotating habitats is feasible.

  104. If there’s something that they really like about living on Mars, yes. But if all they get in trade for their health problems is a high risk environment, cramped living in government housing, and low access to goods and services, I’m having trouble envisioning it.

  105. The lunar lander cargo capacity seems rather puny if the goal is a real Moon base. It’s sized about right if the goal is just another touch and go visit like Apollo, though.

  106. You need money making reasons to go into space. If you are serious then launch a Lunar Assaying /Ore Prospecting probe.

  107. “Take a look at that toroid. Do you seriously think it could be paid for in a few years”

    You’re thinking with your digestive track again.

    When you look at all that mass you immediately think of what it would cost to buy it all from US steel. The only cost associated with materials in space is the cost of the fuel to go retrieve it, some of that space materials is itself more fuel.

  108. We also have hypergravity data (stick mice in a big centrifuge and spin them to 2G for their entire lives). You get stunted dwarf mice.

  109. O’Neill had an expectation that lower gravity would (once we’re experienced with it) make megastructure engineering much easier. That you could sort of make arbitrarily gigantic factories that manipulate arbitrarily gigantic masses in ways that just aren’t possible on Earth, so that a huge bubble to house buildings could take less work to create than the buildings inside it.

    It’s not very convincing from where we are today, though it might be worth revisiting after we’re doing some mega-scale engineering in space of other kinds. Gotta get the basics down first with smaller, more practical industry.

    Sorry meant to post this one as a reply to Stan, above. As far as those illustrations being the projection of a desire, yes, I agree with you.

  110. “Sufficient” is a weird term though. They might be born and live and grow up and reproduce before they die. And they might develop osteoporosis at high rates, or joint problems, back problems, and who knows what else because of a low or unbalanced stress load on this or that disc or fluid sack during childhood. And we could call living with whatever it is sufficient… or we might not. They might live with a similar lifespan and less suffering than a human in an undeveloped country, but to humans in a developed country, that might be a tough sell.

  111. If you count the Earth’s core as part of the resources on Earth, then yes.

    In reality, only a small portion of the mass of Earth is accessible for mining without some serious changes to our lifestyle here.

  112. While I do get annoyed by the super unrealistic portrayals of rural/suburban life in a gigantic artificial structure, I think your psychological assessment is off the mark.

    It’s just that a lot of people think of that as an ideal lifestyle on Earth regardless of their space ideas and if they happen to also imagine space settlement tend to project that ideal into space.

    Space habitats would be very densely populated until people are super rich by today’s standards, but it’s not like you’d be likely to avoid a cramped habitat on a non-terraformed planet’s surface either, and unlike planetary settlements, there are good prospects for space habitat economic viability in the near future at least in low Earth orbit (space tourism). In the long term, they can sustain a far larger population than planets.

  113. “There is billions of times the resources of the Earth in the solar system.” um. No. Not if you are talking about stuff not in the Sun. The mass of the stuff not in the Sun, but in the Solar system, is the equivalent of about 452 Earths.

    If you count the Sun, then the mass of the Solar System is 333,674 Earth masses.

  114. I am also in the view that not many people will want to live in space, like virtually nobody lives in colonies underwater. But I agree that we can move a lot of robotic mining operations and processing and production stemming from the mineral obtained to space. That may actually jump start a whole new level of automation technology development.

  115. According to Flat Earthers, the UN, Illuminatti, New World Order and Satanists enforce the treaty, which actually just forbids anyone going there so they won´t see the edge of Earth, will think Earth is a globe and thus will believe science and forsake God.


  116. Jeff Bezzos studied under O’Neil at Princeton. He MET the guy and says ONeil was one of his guiding lights.

  117. Great speech. Jeff Bezos knows where the resources are, he wants to arrange the infrastructure to permit their use for the human race.

  118. An O’Neill toroid would not require just “a lot” of upfront capital. It would cost more to build than America itself could come up with, probably more than the world could. And why would they? Their citizens would revolt at the taxes required. No, the toroid would have to pay for itself, like any business. And yes all businesses have up front costs, but they all have to assume that their actual work, whatever they do for profit, will pay it off soon enough that the company can show a profit. Take a look at that toroid. Do you seriously think it could be paid for in a few years, even a decade? On the other hand, the equivalent expense of a Mars colony would simply be the construction of some buildings and covering them with regolith. Peanuts. Then get on with making a profit. Overcoming the small gravity well of Mars would be an insignificant cost compared to that of not only constructing a toroid in space, but of first obtaining and refining the enormous amount of ore it’s made out of, either from a colony on the Moon (another expense) or one on an asteroid. Okay, maybe it could happen in a hundred years after space industry has already developed to the point where it can carry it. But why bother even then, when they still have the whole of Mars and the Moon to cheaply colonize?

  119. The only way to earn more than what is spent is probably to mine planets
    and asteroids for precious metals, and space tourism for the super rich.

  120. Colonizing space is not convenient … Yet. That is Bezos whole point, he wants to build the infrastructure to make convenient the inconvenient.

  121. At 23:00 in the video Bezos gives the key gateways to making his vision work.
    1 – Radical reduction of launch cost.
    2 – Use resources in space.
    And as Yea mentioned there is another needed gateway:
    3 – Robotic space assembly

    Reducing launch cost helps us do what we are already doing in space far much more cheaply and therefore on a grander scale with larger space stations. Larger space stations that are rotating for 1g is one step closer to an O’Neil with more people working there and experimenting.

    This will enable us to develop 2 and 3 faster and cheaper. Doing anything in space will be easier with ample use of robotics including mining resources, whether on the Moon or on an asteroid, or Mars for that matter. With the resources and the robotics and the people and some initial habitats it will be easier and easier (as in cheaper) to build ever larger space stations until you have an O’Neil.

    It is a paradigm shift. NY City was simply not possible until many technologies including cheap steel and concrete were developed. Once they were, the unimaginable became reality almost by force.

    Although we should be neither planet chauvinists nor O’Neil chauvinists, it does seem to me that avoiding gravity wells as much as possible will be very helpful to making anything big in space viable, as well as ongoing large scale trade. After all, that is the whole point of using space resources is to avoid the gravity well and thus the cost of obtaining the resources.

  122. Because its basically illegal to live there unless you are a scientist.

    And because we are tired of YOUR CONTROL.

  123. Sort of what I was wondering.
    Yea, it will require a lot of upfront capital. So do a lot of things.
    But once rapid reusability is down[getting there] and ISRU is worked out[again, this is being worked on] then the sky is the limit. It’s an energy abundant, material abundant environment where you have relatively cheap, expendable labor[robots].

  124. What do base your assumption of “enormous cost”?

    The recurring cost of fully reusable rocket is effectively the cost of fuel.
    The recurring cost of the bulk of the required material resources is again effectively the cost of even more fuel.

  125. Zero G is known to do bad things to gestating animals and to adult humans. But nobody is considering to live and have a family in free fall.

    For other fractional Gs, we simply don’t have data (we have never been in places with such gravity force for any meaningful time). Probably Martian gravity is enough, maybe the Moon’s isn’t. Maybe Martian babies will show deformities disabling them on Earth.

    In any case, having kids that can’t return to Earth and enjoy a life in 1 G because of weak bones and body frames sounds bad enough as a risk.

  126. Because parents have always asked for their kids’ permission to move somewhere else.

    What about when they are still not born?

  127. If one has seen the illustrations of some of O’Neill books, it
    is clear, at least for me, that space habitats are only the projection of a desire. The desire of the American upper
    middle class to separate itself from the lower classes
    ( and from the super-rich also) to gain a paradise of
    well-being and security. But the real cost of such an enterprise
    would be enough to make every colonist a multimillionaire
    on earth.

  128. Yea and so do planetary colonies.
    The difference is-
    Space requires less energy since you don’t have to land/take off from a huge gravity well.
    -It can all be done robotically with little human oversight because it will be so close[if needed].

  129. What do base your assumption that humans can’t live in 1/3rd or 1/6th a g on?

    Zero g I get but low g seems reasonable.

  130. If the cost to emigrate is say $100,000 then i’ll pay for my kids.

    It is an investment on their freedom.

  131. If there is a problem with unhealthy babies, science will get on it and solve it. Because the cost differential of a colony on Mars vs similarly-sized space colonies will be outrageously enormous. As Musk says, ordinary people could move to Mars, but where would the money come from to build an O’Neill habitat, to say nothing about living on it?

  132. I personally feel that orbital habitats [ala O’Neill cylinders or toroid/Elysium-style] are the way to go.
    You have full “gravity”, complete control of the location and atmosphere. Or at least more so than you would on a planet.

  133. There are a number of countries that have claims on Antarctic territory, that they have put on hold due to the treaty. If one country broke the treaty, then the other countries would protest this in various ways.

  134. If I would have to bet, I would bet for unhealthy babies on the Moon,
    and sufficiently healthy on Mars. Sufficiently, at least, to live on Mars.

  135. As long as they make the rockets and ships that will take people there, I think both scenarios will indeed happen.

    Due to the tangibility and sense of short term achievement planets give, they will most likely be the first examples of legit human settlements in space, that is, places where people will dare try to pass their lives and not just visit for a few weeks or months as in the 0-g facilities. And they will be probably the first big disappointments of the human Hegira to space, when we painfully verify that humans can’t have healthy babies in less than 1G.

    Life in the surface of other planets probably will end up being a dead end because of that.

    With O’Neill style habitats coming later (the big ones much later), but this time with demonstrable long term habitability and suitability for life, eventually making planets irrelevant for human habitation in the coming centuries.

  136. Yeah, but you cannot hope that people will spend their money to become colonists, no more than I would spend mine to buy a house in Novaja Zemlja.
    Somebody will have to pay them, and to pay them well.

  137. Its not legal to mine or drill in Antarctica.
    Cost of KG into GTO makes moon resources relevant.
    Astroids probably win the end game unless Moon railguns.

  138. Don’t give me that please. Plenty of water and air, fish in the seas, nuclear
    powered greenhouses, natural resources, should allow 300 milion people
    to live there, with thriving cities and magnificent highways. A lot easier
    than building giant garbage cans in space.

  139. One hugely important reason is that the Antarctic treaty removes mineral rights from anyone who would live there.

  140. True. But settling Mars is much more limited than the O’neill scenario, which is why the O’neill scenario was created in the first place.

  141. One big draw of space colonization is that the distance & required levels of self-sufficiency will let groups experiment with political systems in a way that you can’t on Earth. Plus there will be an entry barrier to getting into space for quite a long time; being able to form a society that doesn’t have the “dumb fraction” that all current nations have to manage is quite appealing.

    And then there is emergency backup factor to consider; there are a number of events that could trash civilization as we know it on Earth – asteroid strikes, super volcano eruptions, and so on. Even a bunker in Antarctica might not be safe. Having colonies spread out throughout the solar system would make it a lot easier to rebuild if such an event happened.

  142. Because that isn’t space? Also, Antarctica does have permanent habitation arrangements. The argument that people want to leave earth simply due to crowding seems rather spurious

  143. And in the end you can do both Mars and O’neill habitats.

    It isn’t one or the other.

  144. Bezos has read O’neill’s “High Frontier” book and has attended one or more of the SSI conferences. Unlike Musk, he clearly understands and supports the O’neill space settlement scenario.

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