Jeff Bezos believes his space company, Blue Origin — rather than Amazon or the Washington Post — is representative of his "most important work," and imperative for humanity's long-term survival, the mogul said in an interview published on Business Insider.
In a wide-ranging sitdown on the eve of a new rocket launch, Bezos said his vision for an interplanetary human society actually began as a child, and is culminating with the private space venture that's in a race with SpaceX to send humans into outer space. On Sunday, Blue Origin — which has an ambitious plan to send tourists beyond the Earth as early as this year — is expected to launch its first rocket of 2018 on Sunday.
In an interview with the CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, the billionaire was asked whether he considered space exploration more important than his other ventures.
"Yes," Bezos replied. Sending humans to outer space "is super important to me. I believe on the longest time frame — and really here I'm thinking of a time frame of a couple hundred years, so over many decades...that Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work I'm doing."
His response was somewhat surprising, in the context of Bezos having built his online retail company into a global behemoth, and having purchased the venerable Washington Post in 2013. And just last year, Bezos sent shockwaves through the food retail industry by snapping up Whole Foods.
He added that "I'm pursuing this work because I believe if we don't, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing." Humans "all enjoy a dynamic civilization of growth and change," and space travel is integral to that continuing, he said.
Bezos predicted that heavy industry will be moved to other planets, while Earth, he said, would be reserved for living and for light industry. He also told Business Insider that he grows increasingly convinced of the necessity for space exploration and development "with every passing year."
Blue Origin, which Bezos invests $1 billion in each year, is set to launch its New Shepherd rocket on Sunday morning from the company's facility near Van Horn, Texas. It will be the rocket's eight launch and its first flight of 2018.
The full interview can be found on Business Insider's website.