Former President Barack Obama Thinks Jeff Bezos Should Focus on Earth Before Space

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Mar 31, 2024

Former United States President Barack Obama is at odds with billionaire Jeff Bezos over the future of space colonization.

At the POwR Earth Summit in Paris, the former head of state recently reiterated his common beliefs that billionaires, business owners, and governmental agencies should focus on making Earth more inhabitable and enjoyable for its current population instead of rushing to colonize other planets.

The Billionaire Space Race

Like Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk has invested almost $100 million of his own money into his aerospace company, SpaceX.

Jeff Bezos stands on stage while unveiling new company Blue Origin. He wears a gray suit jacket and black dress shirt set against a black background

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Following this trend, Bezos launched his own company, Blue Origin, and has invested nearly $20 billion of his own cash to fund the project, which many people criticize as a vanity project.

Concerns Bbout Earth Becoming Uninhabitable

Barack Obama stated at the conference in Paris that colonizing Mars to eventually leave a ransacked Earth is not just unhelpful but ultimately wasteful.

Former President Barack Obama speaks at a conference. He wears a black suit jacket, white collared shirt and a blue tie. He stands at a podium with a sign that reads “Alaska Glacier 2015” set against a blue background. A man wearing a suit sits next to him

Source: Wikipedia Commons

He also focused on taking care of Earth’s natural resources to ensure that the planet remains safe, livable, and enjoyable for many generations to come.

Better Now, But for How Long?

Bezos previously cited in an interview with Lex Fridman that although society has advanced in many ways—better literacy rates, infant mortality, and overall life satisfaction—the progress is exactly what is destroying the planet.

A large factory emits plumes of smoke into the air next to a green and yellow field

Source: Johannes Plenio/Unsplash

To the Amazon founder, quality of life and progress will always come at a severe environmental cost. The billionaire is planning an interstellar exit in the case of complete degradation on the planet.

The Natural World Is Moving Backwards

In the same interview, Bezos goes on to claim that the only option to continue humanity’s progress and enjoy the natural world is to enter space.

A young boy walks through a large crevasse filled with garbage set against a blue sky

Source: Hermes Rivera/Unsplash

However, the natural world is being destroyed by manufacturing, mining, construction, and industry, which are all within human control. The destruction of nature does not need to happen at such an alarming rate.

Bezos to Launch a New Rocket This Year

Despite the objections made by former President Obama, Bezos still has plans to colonize space this very year.

A large rocket launches into the atmosphere with a large trial of smoke and fire emitted from the engine set against a blue sky and calm lake

Source: SpaceX/Unsplash

His new company, Blue Origin, plans to launch a mega-rocket in late 2024. The rocket, named New Glenn, will make its maiden voyage into space as a step to begin a new frontier in human lives.


Direct Plans to Build Space Stations

Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk both have plans to enter a new orbit sooner than later. However, they differ in their ideas of what the immediate future in space will look like.

A silver space station floats in space set against a black background. Various antennas and metal panels are seen

Source: Norbert Kowalczyk/Unsplash

While Musk sees an immediate opportunity as a business to colonize Mars and have humans living on the uninhabitable planet, Bezos is more interested in building space stations to live in. He envisions using asteroids or other space rocks nearby Earth to build stations on.


A New Type of Holiday

While commercial trips to space aren’t a current possibility, the Amazon founder sees it as a holiday venture in the future.

A space station floats above an aerial view of Earth

Source: NASA/Unsplash

As reported by Business Insider, Bezos hopes to see a trip to a space station in the near future as a family-friendly holiday, no different from a weekend in Yellowstone National Park for a hike.


Describing a Future with Multiple Space Stations

The plans to create space stations outside Earth don’t end with just one.

Close up of a space shuttle exterior

Source: Marcus Urbenz/Unsplash

The billionaire sees a future with trillions of humans living on countless space stations in the future. It’s clear to see that his current endeavor is the first step in a long reign of space colonization. 


The Growth of the Human Race

Along with building new space stations and extraterrestrial homes, Bezos is counting on the human race to progress as well.

A glowing white and blue tent under a desert sky full of stars

Source: Jamison McAndie/Unsplash

Although it’s unclear how much human potential is currently being wasted, the billionaire sees a future with multiple geniuses existing at any one time with the constant expansion and growth of the human race.


Obama Not Backing Down

Despite the desire from entrepreneurs to enter space, Obama still thinks the ideas lackluster and wasteful.

Obama speaks on the phone surrounded by a panel of men and women of various ages and races

Photo: History in HD/Unsplash

Saving Earth is a daily job, and using more finite resources to get to space is unlikely to preserve the planet.


Are New Technologies Possible?

It might seem like multi-billionaires like Musk and Bezos have every resource at their fingertips, but are livable space stations really possible?

A rocket launches while emitting plumes of smoke and flames next to a large metal station

Source: SpaceX/Unsplash

It’s unclear whether this technology is possible in our lifetime. Even if it is, it’s hard to know who will be able to afford such trips and who might have to be left behind on a destroyed planet.