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At a much-anticipated event in Washington on May 9, Amazon CEO and richest-man-in-the-world Jeff Bezos laid out the long-term vision for Blue Origin, the aerospace firm he founded in 2000. Bezos detailed how he’s working on cutting the cost of getting to space and getting humanity back on the moon — “this time to stay” — in service of his longer-term vision of having up to a trillion humans living in “manufactured worlds” to be built by future generations.

These miles-long “O’Neill colonies,” named after physics professor Gerard K. O’Neill, would be placed above Earth and rotated to create artificial gravity. According to Bezos, they would also be incredibly lush. Each structure could hold up to a million humans, allowing the population to expand to a trillion with “a thousand Mozarts and a thousand Einsteins.” The choice set forth by Bezos is extreme: eventual “stasis and rationing” if we don’t colonize space, or “growth and dynamism” if we do.

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Category: Science