The millionaires leading mankind's march to space have a few things in common — in particular, starry-eyed visions of sending humans to the final frontier and galaxy-size bank accounts to launch their ideas into orbit.
But the motivation of Robert Bigelow — who made millions in the extended-stay motel industry then launched his own aerospace company — is kind of, well, out there.
Bigelow told "60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan that not only is he “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist but that he and his family members have had personal experiences with beings from another planet.
He is, to quote dozens of alien movies, not alone.
A Newsweek poll from 2015 showed that 54 percent of Americans believe in intelligent alien life. But Bigelow is capable of pumping millions of dollars into testing his theories about space colonization and alien life forms.
He spoke about his beliefs and his motivations with Logan, who asked whether he believed that aliens have ever visited Earth. “There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence,” he said. “And I spent millions and millions and millions — I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.”
By his own admission, it was millions that may not have been needed to make contact with beings from another planet. “You don't have to go anywhere,” he said. " … It's just like right under people's noses. Oh my gosh. Wow.”
Whether people believe his claims doesn't really matter. He's used his own money — some $290 million, he told "60 Minutes” — to form a company with a stylized alien logo to send things into space. Last May, astronauts pumped up the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, a $17.8 million inflatable space beach ball that Bigelow hopes will be the future of space exploration.
290 million to form a company; now I get it.