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Culture

Jeff Bezos wants you to join him in outer space

Amazon's CEO hopes to make it as easy to start investing in space as it is to create an internet startup.

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Bezos onstage Thursday discussing the final frontier.

Vanity Fair

Thanks to the internet, just about anyone with a great idea can disrupt industries. That kind of thing simply isn't possible when it comes to developing new businesses for outer space.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, said Thursday that this difference is a central reason why he wanted to create his rocket company Blue Origin 16 years ago. Using his massive wealth from founding Amazon, Bezos said, he wants to help develop the "heavy-lifting infrastructure" to allow space startups to proliferate in the future.

"We're trying to lower the price of admission into space so thousands of entrepreneurs" can follow, he said onstage Thursday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco.

Bezos added that he doesn't know what new concepts may be created for space, but he hoped to unleash these new businesses by developing a platform for space travel, such as reusable rockets to cut down costs.

Blue Origin is among a small group of private rocket companies looking to write the next chapter in space exploration, with Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic also developing new space vehicles. But even with those billionaires' fortunes behind a new push into space, it should still take years of investments to make space exploration into something that more of the public can experience.

Bezos also had harsh words for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, saying Trump's threats of retribution and retaliation against people who have spoken against him aren't "appropriate."

He also took a swipe at prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Thiel's $1.25 million donation to the Trump campaign: "Peter Thiel is a contrarian...You just have to remember that contrarians are usually wrong."

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The Trump campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bezos added that the US democratic system is very robust, but that "it is inappropriate for a presidential candidate to erode that on the edges" with threats to jail his political opponent. Considering that, Bezos said it was "a mistake" for him to just joke about sending Trump into space after he was attacked by the candidate late last year.

Still, Bezos added Thursday, "I have a rocket company, so the capability is there."