June 18, 2021

Jeff Bezos dreams of sending humanity into space

By Alexandre Piquard

Posted today at 05h48

“The Earth is no longer great. Humanity is great. (…) We have an ever increasing demand for energy. Making progress in energy efficiency will not solve this problem (…). If you take the current demand, you can meet it by covering all of Nevada with solar panels. (…) But, in two hundred years, it will be necessary to cover the surface of the whole planet. It will not happen. “

Artist's impression of a space colony, created by Blue Origin and shown by its founder Jeff Bezos, in May 2019.

The author of this implacable indictment is not a radical environmentalist. This is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, launched, this May 9, 2019, in a large presentation, alone on stage, one eye on the teleprompter. The entrepreneur does not conclude either that, to save the planet, it is logically necessary to reduce energy consumption, or even to opt for decrease. ” We have the choice. Do we want stagnation and rationing? Or do we want dynamism and growth? It’s an easy choice ”, he says, rejecting the idea that “Our grandchildren can be the first to live worse lives than ours”. But what then does Jeff Bezos propose? To go into space. “If we move around the Solar System, for all of our day-to-day activities, we have unlimited resources. “

Jeff Bezos is very serious. That day, at the Washington Convention Center, he unveiled to the press a prototype of a small module intended to land on the Moon. And on Saturday, June 12, he is auctioning off a seat in the rocket, which, on July 20, is to make the first space tourists in history take off. He himself has just announced that he wants to be part of the trip, with his little brother Mark. Space is one of the activities to which the richest man in the world wants to devote himself when he leaves his post as CEO of Amazon, the e-commerce giant he founded, on July 5. He named his space company Blue Origin, to remind humans tomorrow that they are from the “blue planet”.

“It would be an incredible civilization”

What does Mr. Bezos mean when he talks about living and working in space? On May 9, 2019, he set out his great design: he dreams of a “Trillion humans” and also of “A thousand Mozart, a thousand Einsteins, a thousand da Vinci”. “It would be an incredible civilization”, he rejoices. Where would people live? In “Space colonies” from “Several kilometers long”, that would float in orbit and “Could each accommodate a million inhabitants or more”, projected Mr. Bezos. Behind him parade illustrations. We see an old wooden barn from the Midwest and a beautiful university, in an imaginary green valley, crossed by an ultramodern railcar and bordered in the distance by skyscrapers. A glass roof covers the landscape, the horizon of which curves as far as the eye can see.

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