Energy generation in space will ‘save’ the world, says Jeff Bezos

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has outlined the future for his ongoing space exploration ambitions, which could see Earth "saved" by building around-the-clock solar factories in space that would replace energy-intensive manufacturing sectors.

Speaking to Recode at an annual conference in Southern California, Bezos claimed that space exploration would prove a necessity in order to save the planet, noting that solar stations in space would be better suited to cater for the energy demands of a growing global population.

“I think you go to space to save Earth,” Bezos said. “”We need to protect [the planet] and the way we will protect it is by going out into space. You don’t want to live in a retrograde world. You don’t want to live on an Earth where we have to freeze population growth and reduce energy utilisation.

“We all enjoy an extraordinary civilization, and it is powered by energy, and it’s powered by population. We want the population to keep growing on this planet and we want to keep using more energy per capita.

“I’m building infrastructure the hard way. I’m using my own resources to put in place heavy lifting infrastructure so that the next generation of people can have a dynamic, entrepreneurial explosion into space.”

Comparing the potential of space exploration to the internet, Bezos claimed that within a “few hundred years” all of the world’s heavy industries would be moved from the planet in order to bypass issues on energy limitations.

“Earth will be zoned residential and light industrial,” Bezos added. “You shouldn’t be doing heavy energy on earth. We can build gigantic chip factories in space.”

Recyclable rockets

Bezos hopes to ignite the space race, which rival billionaire Elon Musk has also expressed an interest in, through the development of low-cost reusable rockets using his aerospace manufacturer and spaceflight services company Blue Origin.

The company, which has already debuted a BE-3 Hydrogen Engine, uses pressurised capsules atop boosters fitted with parachutes to create vehicles that are able to enter space before landing softly back to earth for reuse.

Bezos believes that this approach, which is also being trialled by Russian, Japanese and European Space Agencies, could drastically reduce costs in the space industry by promoting a closed-loop reuse system.

In an attempt to accelerate a shift to a low-carbon economy, Bezos – alongside Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson – recently formed a new renewable energy investment group aimed at creating affordable and reliable clean energy for the entire planet.

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Matt Mace

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