Jeff Bezos Wins Exploration Award, Eats Lizard Meat

Jeff Bezos won a prestigious exploration award over the weekend and celebrated by eating some iguana meat.

The billionaire founder accepted the Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award at the annual gala of the Explorers Club Saturday night (March 10) in New York City, Bloomberg reported

The Explorers Club cited the achievements and potential of Bezos' company Blue Origin, which is developing reusable rockets and spacecraft in an attempt to slash the cost of spaceflight and help open the heavens to exploration. Blue Origins' New Shepard rocket-spaceship combo has a number of launches and landings under its belt, for example, and could be ready to start flying people to and from suborbital space as early as this year. The company is also working on a heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn, which is scheduled to lift off for the first time in 2020. [In Photos: Blue Origin's New Shepard 2.0 Aces Maiden Test Flight]

Last year, Bezos revealed that he has been funding Blue Origin by selling $1 billion of Amazon stock annually — a financial commitment he reiterated during his speech at the Explorers Club gala on Saturday night.

"The price of admission to space is very high," Bezos said, according to Bloomberg. "I’m in the process of converting my Amazon lottery winnings into a much lower price of admission so we can go explore the solar system."

Bezos has stated that Blue Origin aims to help get millions of people living and working in space. Part of this vision involves pushing a lot of heavy industry off Earth, a shift that would help protect our home planet and its natural resources.  

"We have sent a lot of probes to every planet in this solar system. Believe me, this is the best one," Bezos said Saturday night, according to Bloomberg. "The world that we live on is an absolute gem."

“I want a world for my grandchildren’s grandchildren to live in," added Bezos, who is the richest man in the world, with a net worth above $130 billion. "I also want a dynamic world, a world that is expanding and growing. I do not believe in stasis. And this planet is finite."

So, what about the lizard meat? The Explorers Club — a professional society founded in 1905 to celebrate and promote field research and exploration — has long served exotic species at its annual gala. But the culinary focus has shifted in recent years to invasive animals, in an attempt to help nudge humanity's diet toward sustainability, according to Gizmodo

Green iguanas, like many other species, are running rampant throughout south Florida. So they were on the menu Saturday night, and Bezos partook.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.