Photo of the exterior of Amazon Spheres captured on May 10, 2018
– Source: Biodin – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Last week we saw Jeff Bezos announcing O’Neill Cylinder colonies and a beautiful design for a Lunar Lander he has been working on for three years. Blue Moon will be soon capable of landing between 3.5 and 6 tons allowing for both cargo and manned missions to and from the Lunar Surface.
The announcement was made on the heels of similar announcements by NASA and the American Vice President Mike Pence, pressing for a return of American astronauts to the Lunar Surface by 2024.
Jeff Bezos believes that the best place for humans to live is not in the gravity well of planets and moons, but in the artificial gravity of large diameter cylinders able to house up to 10.000 colonists, while being easy to reach by space vehicles.
Owning a 1 trillion dollar company does not stop the founder of Amazon from realizing that the money for such schemes has to come from somewhere. Sending parcels and humans to the Lunar surface will just be a timid first step in learning to mine and use resources in space. Before a first cylinder could be built, vast amounts will have to be harvested in space or on Luna, where energy requirements are lower.
The entire reason for being of O’Neill Cylinders turns around the idea that humans will not be able to harvest more dense forms of energy in the near future, which might be a prediction resulting from our typical lack of human imagination. Indeed, if one of the many compact fusion and anti-matter devices being studied by commercial enterprises makes it out of the laboratory, gravity wells, and the associated costs to get out of them, will no longer cause any obstacle for solar system industrialization.
Mars domes on Earth
Less in the news is the fact that he might sneakily be working on a Mars Dome. Indeed, when we look at the New Amazon Headquarters being built in Seattle, we are immediately struck by the off-world appearance of the spherical buildings. Not only do they have the ideal shape to contain gases under pressure in a vacuum, but the inside is a mix of beautiful greeneries, green patios, and multi-floor open spaces. In essence, it is an indoor park combined with offices.
You can judge for yourself as The Washington Post was invited on an inside tour of the dome and beautiful video about the architecture, which can be enjoyed below:
The project manager in the video did not mention the off-world hobby of his client, but we would not be surprised if the design fits in the patient, forward-looking and interplanetary scheme of the ever industrious CEO of both Amazon and Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos.
“Why spheres”, the narrator asks, at the beginning of the video. We would love to ask Jeff Bezos in person.