Blue Origin's reusable New Shepard rocket has returned from space four times on separate missions ( Blue Origin )
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said he wants to use his vast wealth to build the infrastructure needed to make space accessible for startups, rather than simply sending humans to Mars.
Speaking at a private event at the Yale Club in New York, Bezos revealed that he considered his space company Blue Origin to be "the most important work" that he does. But such work is only possible by liquidating $1 billion of Amazon stock each year to bankroll it.
Other space startups, such as Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, require similar funding from their billionaire backers due to the high barriers of entry into the space industry.
Bezos said space startups are currently unable to flourish in the same way that Amazon and Facebook did because the infrastructure that facilitated such tech firms does not yet exist for space.
In order to do the same for the space industry, the world's richest person said he would invest his millions in doing the "heavy-lifting" to enable startups to prosper.
"Mark Zuckerberg started a company in his dorm room – which is now worth half a trillion dollars – less than two decades ago," Bezos said, according to Business Insider.
"How do you get that kind of entrepreneurial [advancement] in space? You need to lower the price of admission right now to do anything interesting in space because it requires so much heavy lifting and so much infrastructure development."
Bezos said the current entry point for doing something impactful in the space industry is currently hundreds of millions of dollars, but hopes to change this in the coming years to allow for dorm room-style space startups.
"I want to take the assets that I have found from Amazon and translate that into the heavy-lifting infrastructure that will [help] the next generation to have dynamic entrepreneurialism in space – kind of build that [infrastructure]," he said.
"That's what's going on, that's what Blue Origin's mission is. If we can do that, then the whole thing will take off and there will be thousands of companies doing creative things."
Blue Origin has already carried out several successful flights of its New Shepard reusable rocket and the company plans to use it to take people into space later this year.
Despite similar ambitions by SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, Bezos insisted at the New York event that it is not a race, stating, "We will fly when we're ready."
He also stated that his goal for Blue Origin is different to that of Musk, who has consistently said that he wants to send people to live on Mars.
Star man: Bezos has been reinvesting money he made at Amazon since he started his space exploration company Blue Origin more than a decade ago (Getty)
Musk even predicted last year that there is a 70 per cent chance that he would go to Mars himself. Bezos said he had a different long-term vision for humanity, which involves moving heavy industry and energy production into space in order to protect Earth.
"My friends who want to move to Mars – I say, 'do me a favour, go live on the top of Mount Everest for a year first, and see if you like it. Because it's a garden paradise compared to Mars," Bezos said.
"We want to go to space to protect this planet. That's why the company's named Blue Origin – it's the blue planet that's where we're from."