We’ve already heard how Robert Downey Jr. plans to fight climate change, but Jeff Bezos was also at the Amazon re: MARS tech conference this week and he wants the Earth to “be rezoned residential and light industry”. He suggests we do this by moving the carbon-heavy factories off-planet.
It’s certainly an interesting idea. Bezos argues that the Moon is perfect to house Earth’s more destructive industries, with its access to solar energy, water trapped as ice, and lighter gravity (e.g. if you weigh 90 kg on Earth, you’d weigh about 15 kg on the Moon). The Moon is also currently only a three day journey away. Plus, it’s devoid of life; there are no moon moles or lunar lemurs to upset. Pity.
To aid in this first step towards colonisation of worlds beyond our own, Bezos is developing the Blue Moon lunar-lander vehicle. It’s designed to deliver a variety of different payloads to the Moon. These reusable rockets will function like space cargo planes and will help build the infrastructure for other companies to get development started on our closest space-neighbour.
I’m not sure how they’ll get this to work financially, though, since most of the world’s most polluting industries are in countries with cheap labour and therefore cheap production. Surely adding space to their transportation routes will increase costs? Unless Moon production becomes so cost-effective that it balances out? And what about all the people currently employed in the Earth factories? Do they all get sent to the Moon? Will China claim the Moon?