Future Tense

Jeff Bezos Says Space Travel is His Most Important Work

“The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts," Bezos said.
“The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts,” Bezos said.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave an off-the-wall interview last month to Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Business Insider’s parent company Axel Springer. During the interview, which was published over the weekend, Bezos elucidated his dramatic vision for space travel and asserted that his aerospace company Blue Origin is “the most important work that I’m doing.”

Even though Bezos helms the world’s largest online retailer and owns the Washington Post, one of the most respected newspapers in the country, he told Döpfner that his long-lens perspective on humanity leads him to believe that investing to expand civilization beyond the bounds of this planet is his most worthwhile pursuit. He also stressed that Earth will not have enough energy to support human life in a few hundred years.

“The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited, for all practical purposes, resources and solar power unlimited for all practical purposes,” he said. “I believe that in that timeframe we will move all heavy industry off of Earth, and Earth will be zoned residential and light industry.”

He also disclosed that he is spending a vast portion of his personal finances on this vision, noting, “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. … I am liquidating about $1 billion a year of Amazon stock to fund Blue Origin, and I plan to continue to do that for a long time.” Bezos is the richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $130.2 billion according to Forbes.

Blue Origin launched the eighth test flight of its New Shepard rocket on Sunday in Texas. The rocket carried sensors to collect pressure and noise data, demo technology that could eventually be used to provide WiFi to commercial space travelers, and a crash test dummy named Mannequin Skywalker.