Petitions to Keep Jeff Bezos in Space After Blue Origins Launch Exceed 100,000 Signatures

Petitions calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stay in space once he gets there have been signed more than 100,000 times since they were launched two weeks ago.

Bezos is a multi-billionaire and world's richest person with a net worth of around $200bn, according to Forbes. He is due to travel to space on July 20 with Blue Origin, the private rocket company he founded.

Next month's launch is purely for pleasure, marking the growth of the nascent space tourism industry.

Bezos, along with his brother Mark Bezos and an undisclosed third person, will travel to space for a short time, briefly rising over the Kármán line—the commonly recognized boundary where space begins—before returning to land.

On June 12, Blue Origin announced it had secured a third person for July's launch after selling a vacant seat at auction for $28 million.

As the launch approaches, a growing number of people have suggested the billionaire should go to space and stay there.

Two petitions, one tilted "Do not allow Jeff Bezos to return to Earth" and another titled "Petition To Not Allow Jeff Bezos to Re-Entry To Earth" have between them garnered over 100,000 signatures.

The former appeared to be the most popular, with its description decrying the wealth of the Amazon CEO. It reads: "Billionaires should not exist on Earth or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there."

Newsweek has contacted Blue Origin for comment

Blue Origin has not indicated any plans to alter the current flight profile of the launch, which will not reach the speeds necessary to achieve orbital velocity.

This means that although Bezos and co. will technically be launched into space, physics dictates they will quickly fall back down again rather than circle the Earth indefinitely.

Blue Origin states on its website that a typical mission of this type will last between 10 and 12 minutes from launch to landing. The single-stage rocket involved is called New Shepard.

While the petitions calling on Bezos to stay in space appear to be tongue-in-cheek, they suggest a real frustration at wealth inequality.

Last year, investment bank Credit Suisse published its annual Global Wealth Report for 2020 which found that public attention during the pandemic had been drawn to the rising wealth of some top billionaires, "particularly those in tech."

The report said that the assessment of global inequality "awaits the arrival of more data," but that "the low-skilled, women, minorities, the young, and small businesses have all suffered, while those linked with the few industries that have thrived in the pandemic have benefited."

Between March 31 2020 and March 31 2021, Amazon collected a net income of around $26.9 billion—more than double the same figure of $10.5 billion between March 31 2019 and March 31 2020, according to its Q1 2021 report.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos pictured speaking at an event in Washington, D.C., in January 2016. Bezos is currently the richest person in the world. Chip Somodevilla/Getty