FASTER, PLEASE: Blue Origin”s Jeff Bezos revives the idea of free flying O’Neill space colonies.

While Elon Musk wants to found a city of a million people on Mars, his main rival in the commercial #Space game, Jeff Bezos, would like to revive a space colony concept first popularized by Dr. Gerard O’Neill in the 1970s, according to Alan Boyle. An O’Neill space colony consists of a giant rotating cylinder in space with people living on the inside, getting power from 24/7 sunlight. O’Neill envisioned the first such colony being established at the L5 point, one of the five Lagrange points where the gravity of the Earth and the moon cancel out. L5 has easy access to both the Earth and the moon and could serve as a way station to deep space destinations such as Mars. The concept was actually studied by NASA at one time.

The O’Neill space colony was popularized in the movie “Interstellar” and the TV series “Babylon 5.” The idea is that humanity would not just become a multi-planet species, but would be free from planets entirely. Bezos envisions all heavy industry being moved off of the Earth, with the home planet being turned into a garden of sorts for residential and light industry.

Works for me. I was an L5 Society member, back in the day.