Jeff Bezos Wants Orbiting Factories (Clarke-style)
Jeff Bezos was channeling his inner Arthur C. Clarke at Recode's Code Conference. Preferring to remain on Earth, he thinks that the best place to manufacture things... is in the space above us.
"Energy is limited here. In at least a few hundred years ... all of our heavy industry will be moved off-planet," Bezos added. "Earth will be zoned residential and light industrial. You shouldn't be doing heavy energy on earth. We can build gigantic chip factories in space."
Solar energy, for instance, is more practical for factories in space, he said.
"We don't have to actually build them here," he said. "The Earth shades itself, [whereas] in space you can get solar power 24/7. ... The problem with other planets ... people will visit Mars, and we will settle Mars, and people should because it's cool, but for heavy industry, I would actually put it in space."
Bezos seems to be thinking along the same lines as Arthur C. Clarke, who suggested orbiting factories in his admirable 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise:
"...What is it?"
"The result of two hundred years of solid-state physics. For whatever good that does, it is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal - though it's not actually pure carbon. There are several trace elements in carefully controlled amounts. It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories, where there's no gravity to interfere with the growth process."
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