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The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos

Nearly a half-century after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of billionaire entrepreneurs are pouring their fortunes into the epic resurrection of the American space program. These space barons — most notably Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, along with Richard Branson and Paul Allen — are using Silicon Valley-style innovation to dramatically lower the cost of space travel as they aim for the moon, Mars and beyond.

The Baker Institute Space Policy Program hosted Washington Post journalist Christian Davenport for a discussion of his book, “The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos,” an account of the birth of a new Space Age, the personal clashes of the innovators behind it, and the struggle to end governments’ monopoly on space exploration. 

A book signing followed the presentation. Copies of the book were available for purchase courtesy of the Rice University Campus Store.

Follow @BakerInstitute on Twitter and join the conversation online with #BakerSpace.





6:00 p.m. — Reception
6:30 p.m. — Presentation 


Featured Speaker

Christian Davenport is a staff writer at The Washington Post covering the defense and space industries for the financial desk. He joined The Post in 2000, and has written about the D.C.-area sniper shootings, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the burial problems at Arlington National Cemetery. He was on a team that won the Peabody Award in 2010 for its work on veterans with traumatic brain injury, and has been on reporting teams that were finalists for the Pulitzer prize three times. Davenport previously was an editor on the metro desk, overseeing coverage of local government and politics. He has also worked at Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Austin American-Statesman. He is the author of two books, "The Space Barons: Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos" (2018) and "As You Were: To War and Back with the Black Hawk Battalion of the Virginia National Guard" (2009). Davenport has served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and as a fellow at the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Davenport received a bachelor's degree from Colby College.



Tue, May 7, 2019
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central

Event has ended


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
Rice University's Baker Institute
Houston, Texas 77005

Kelly International Conference Facility