Jeff Bezos - Space Cadet or Savvy Businessman - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

Amazon.com’s CEO Jeff Bezos says that commercial space exploration is right around the corner—and he’s working on lowering the cost of getting to space.

There’s no word on whether you’ll be able to book your travel through the retail giant’s website, but when Bezos addressed the 32nd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, he said, “I want to see millions of people living and working in space.”

Bezos invested in Blue Origin, a company that “dabbles in space exploration,” according to Tech Times and it’s launched and landed its reusable rocket—called New Shepard—four times.

Blue Origin has thrown down its proverbial gauntlet at the feet of Elon Musk’s SpaceX program; Musk says that he plans to colonize Mars and will announce the details in Guadalajara, Mexico this September. (Boeing is also throwing its hat in the ring, but like the big, lumbering company it is, it’s slow to rise to the challenge.)

These billionaire adventurers aren’t alone. It’s becoming a bit of a competition to see whose name will go down in history as the first to fund a space colony, find intelligent life among the stars, or create a first-hand map of the universe. Ultra-rich Russian Yuri Milner is providing $100 million to Breakthrough Starshot for the development of unmanned ships that will probe space for hints of life.

Some of this sounds far-fetched (maybe not as far-fetched as Newt Gingrich promising the country a moon colony in 2012), but it’s all in the works—and experts claim that some of this technology will become available to the public within the next 18 months.

As for Bezos, he plans to have passengers on board a New Shepard reusable rocket by 2018. He hasn’t announced the price just yet, but if Blue Origin’s ideas pan out, the slightly-richer-than-average Joe may be able to enjoy a few minutes of weightlessness on the edge of space for the price of, say, a Bentley Mulsanne Speed.

What Do You Think?

If you could afford commercial space travel, would you head for the stars? I’d love to hear what you’d do if a trip to the moon cost as much as a flight to Chicago, so share your thoughts on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino