Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has laid out his vision for the future of our civilization, and space is at its core.
Speaking to the BBC on a show aired Tuesday night, Bezos called for a "dynamic, entrepreneurial explosion in space just as I've witnessed over the last 20 years on the internet – thousands of companies and tens of thousands of start-ups doing interesting things online."
One of the planet's richest people, Bezos, who founded Amazon in 1994, is also the founder of private spaceflight services company Blue Origin.
Appearing in the documentary "The 21st Century Race For Space", Bezos told physicist Brian Cox that one of the big problems with lowering the cost of a space launch today was that "we just don't get enough practice."
"The most used launch vehicles fly, in a good year, maybe 10 or 12 times a year, and you just never get truly great at anything you only do 10 or 12 times a year," he added. Tourism, Bezos told the BBC, could provide additional launches to "drive up the rate of practice."
Turning his attention to the weighty subject of our civilization and what happens to it in the future, Bezos struck an ambitious note.
"We have sent robotic probes now to every planet in the solar system, and we know without any shadow of a doubt that Earth is the best one, this is the best planet," he said. "We need to protect it and the only way to really protect it is to eventually … move heavy industry off earth."
Space, Bezos said, was a much better place to do heavy manufacturing. "In space you have 24/7 solar power, resources in space are much vaster in terms of mineral resources and so on, every kind of element that you need is available in space in very large quantities."
This would allow humans, over the next couple of hundred years, to continue to have a dynamic, expanding and thriving civilization while at the same time "protecting this planet that we evolved on, which is this jewel, this diamond of a planet."