When I was growing up, Blade Runner was one of my favorite movies. I’ve also been a big fan of Peter Diamandis and his books Abundance and Bold. Both make me think about infinite abundance of materials available to us in space.
This week on the show, I connect with Jim Keravala, co-founder and CEO of OffWorld, to talk about the incredible things he’s doing with robots and outer space.
So what exactly is OffWorld? (Sounds like some serious Blade Runner material, doesn’t it?) Their ambition is to build infrastructure in space so that civilization can expand into the solar system and beyond in addition to building industrial processes and capabilities in space to help rebalance the Earth’s ecosystem.
Their challenge was to find a future-paced business model that worked in the NOW. OffWorld treats Earth as a celestial body, and their autonomous, industrial, robotic workforce of AI-powered robots operate ON EARTH in the mining, construction, infrastructure repair, city sewers, seabed operations, etc. to do the dangerous jobs (that are normally done by humans) with a high degree of collaborative intelligence and move people out of harm's way.
While they’re building their space program on the backs of commercial contracts in the mining and construction sectors, they’re simultaneously building a platform for expansion into the solar system.
Bottom line — they have a great prototyping platform and an opportunity to test everything here on Earth, get paid while they're doing it, PROVE the model, and then launch the program on the moon, Mars, or beyond. Their intention is to become a multi-billion dollar company here on Earth and use their income to underwrite their own pilot projects in space.
Where did this CRAZY, cool idea come from?
Jim has been passionate about getting humans off the surface of the Earth and into outer space since he was a teenager. He read An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Robert Malthus. The premise of the book is that if you're in any closed economy or system, at some point you're going to reach an imbalance of resources and run out of space for your waste products and the possibility for population expansion.
The book was talking more in terms of regional boundaries, but being a complete space nut as a kid, Jim immediately expanded that into the Earth and space arena. He realized that, conceptually, we are in a closed system if we stay on this planet. That’s when his passion for expanding beyond Earth's atmosphere began.
It was a fascinating and eye-opening experience chatting with Jim at the Near Future Summit. If you’re interested in space and what’s to come in the VERY near future, this episode is for you!