Jeff Bezos talked about his space exploration ambitions to CBS.

  • Jeff Bezos said humanity needs space travel if we want to continue to have a "thriving civilization" because we are "destroying this planet."
  • Bezos doesn't believe humans should abandon Earth in favor of another planet, but rather we could use space as a resource.
  • Bezos has taken this line in the past, in contrast to fellow tech mogul and space-exploration CEO Elon Musk.
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Jeff Bezos has said that humans need space travel because we're "destroying this planet." However, he doesn't mean humanity will have to evacuate a dying Earth, but rather we could outsource our more destructive behaviors to space.

Speaking to CBS News anchor Norah O'Donnell, Bezos - whose space exploration company Blue Origin hopes to put people back on the moon as soon as 2024 courtesy of its Blue Moon lunar lander - seemed pessimistic about the effect humans are having on planet Earth.

"We humans have to go to space if we are going to continue to have a thriving civilization. We have become big as a population, as a species, and this planet is relatively small," he said. "We see it in things like climate change and pollution and heavy industry. We are in the process of destroying this planet."

Yet despite this he emphasised that Earth is the best place for us. "We have sent robotic probes to every planet in the solar system - this is the good one." Instead of advocating for re-settlement, Bezos said humankind can preserve Earth "using the resources of space."

Specifically, Bezos hypothesized that we could move high-polluting industries like manufacturing out to space. "Eventually it will be much cheaper and simpler to make really complicated things like microprocessors... in space and then send those highly complex manufactured objects back down to Earth so that we don't have the big factories and pollution-generating industries that make those things now," he said, adding "Earth can be zoned residential."

Bezos said he believes this kind of advancement is hundreds of years down the line, but didn't rule out some humans leaving Earth behind altogether. "People are going to want to live on Earth and they're going to want to live off Earth, there are going to be very nice places to live off Earth as well. People will make that choice," he said.

In the past, Bezos has been dismissive of fatalistic visions of space colonization as a "plan B" to planet Earth, which is more typified in the rhetoric of fellow tech-mogul-turned-space-exploration-enthusiast Elon Musk.

You can watch Jeff Bezos' interview, alongside Caroline Kennedy, former US ambassador to Japan and daughter of John F Kennedy, here:

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