If you had all the money in the world, what would you end up doing with it? Well, most of the answers would probably range from between buying an island or trying to tackle poverty, it seems what really happens is that you gain a desire to build rockets and shoot them off into space. At least that’s the conclusion I have to when I see the likes of Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos all use their remarkable wealth to burn copious amounts of fuel in a few seconds. I guess if you can afford it, why not?
To be fair, there are viable business ideas behind some of these plans, with Branson’s Virgin Galactic focused on future space tourism while Musk’s progress on SpaceX, in particular, proving to be successful as they design reusable rockets to help reduce the cost of launching satellites into space. The outlier at the moment is Bezos’ Blue Origin which has yet to play its cards on what it plans to offer the space industry in the future.
Bezos finally gave people an insight into some of his company’s plans by unveiling a design for a new Lunar Lander, called the Blue Moon, which he hopes to use to transport scientific equipment and eventually humans to the moon and reignite humans’ interest in moon landings (or if you believe certain conspiracy theories, for the first time ever)
The Blue Moon lander will be capable of autonomously navigating in space and soft landing between 3.6 and 6.5 metric tons of payload on the surface of the Moon. According to Bezos, it’s capable of carrying up to 4 large rovers simultaneously, or an “ascent stage,” which can take off from the lander and eventually carry people away from the surface of the Moon. Bezos also revealed a new engine for the lander that Blue Origin has been developing called the BE-7. He said that the company will conduct its first ignition test this summer.
This comes at an interesting time when NASA and US government are planning to once again send people to the moon (for reasons of national pride of course), with the hope of getting the first woman on the moon by 2024. A date that Bezos believes his company can meet, if not improve upon. Considering Bezos and his team have reportedly been working on this for 3 years as opposed to NASA just starting up again, it means he is certainly ahead of the game and I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to work with Blue Origin on this project.
While the work that blue Origin has so far been doing has been focused on the moon, Jeff has bigger plans and spoke about how he would like to see the creation of ‘O’Neill cylinders’ or giant space stations with artificial gravity, capable of holding millions of people or entire landscapes in space. Which is one way of dealing with over-population I guess? These are ambitious plans from the entrepreneur and something which may never get accomplished during his lifetime. Something which he doesn’t seem to mind as he believes the focus of everything they are building towards is on inspiring the future generations to achieve these dreams:
What I’m laying out here today is obviously a multi-generation vision. This is not going to get done by any one generation. One of the things that we have to do is inspire those future generations.
Of course, I can think of many other ways to spend billions improve life on earth, but I guess dreams of space will always remain and even if these tech billionaires could afford to buy entire countries, they would rather leave us all behind and jet off into space instead.
Last Updated: May 10, 2019
May 10, 2019 at 15:58
Actually Blue Origin first business plan is also space tourism on the New Sheppard suborbital rocket. After last week successful test/experiment mission the plans look for the first manned flight this year with tourists flights beginning next year.
His 2024 timeline is probably overly optimistic as Blue Origin seems to blast past deadlines at MAXQ and the most likely launch vehicle New Glen will at the earliest have its own test flight on in 2 years time.
And yes this is the best way to spend billions, actually move research and development in all fields and humanity as whole forward after a few decades of stagnation.