Amazon CEO and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday unveiled his space company’s lunar lander “Blue Moon.”
During the invite-only presentation to space industry executives and the media in Washington, Bezos said: “This is an incredible vehicle [Blue Moon], and it’s going to the moon.”
Referring to the moon as “a gift” to us, Bezos added that the nearby body [moon] is a good place to manufacturer all objects intended for space due to its lower gravity compared to the Earth. “It takes less than 24 times energy” to get resources off the moon’s surface compared to the Earth, and that’s a huge lever,” said Bezos.
According to Bezos, the Blue Moon lunar lander can transport 3.6 metric tons of payload to the lunar surface in a single trip. That’s apparently the weight of two Tesla Model 3 cars. The lander is designed to deliver payloads of different sizes to the moon’s surface, and Blue Origin’s goal is to establish “a sustained human presence” on the Earth’s natural satellite.
The American technology entrepreneur also unveiled Blue Origin’s BE-7 rocket engine during the presentation. According to Bezos, the rocket engine, largely made of “printed” parts, will be test-fired for the first time this summer.
It’s about time we go back to the moon and remain there this time, Bezos said. "We need the new engine and that's what this is."
Established on September 8, 2000, Blue Origin has made no tangible announcements about rockets, capsules and engines its developing. However, the company has been working on many space systems simultaneously, with its Latin tagline: “step by step, ferociously.” Jeff Bezos invests over $1 billion into Blue Origin every year by selling his Amazon shares.
While the Blue Moon lunar lander unveiled by Bezos on Thursday is designed to carry infrastructure payloads to the moon, the company has designed a “larger variant” [of Blue Moon] to “land an ascent vehicle that will allow us to return Americans to the Moon by 2024," according to Blue Origin’s website.
Bezos’s new announcement is likely a move to get NASA’s attention. Earlier this year, Vice President Mike Pence gave NASA a directive to return astronauts to the moon’s surface within the next five years. The administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine has disclosed the agency’s plan to accelerate its existing lunar exploration timeline promising that NASA will adhere to the White House directive. NASA included a massive funding of the Advanced Cislunar and Surface Capabilities (ACSC) program in its fiscal 2020 budget request. The program intends to first send robots to the moon’s surface in 2024 before sending astronauts four years later. But the agency is now pushing to make things faster by attempting to use commercial alternatives such as SpaceX and Blue Origin in designing and building a spacecraft that will get astronauts to the moon’s surface in 2024.
Bezos was clear with Blue Origin’s plan to meet NASA’s timeline. "I love Vice President Pence's 2024 lunar landing goal," he said.
The billionaire’s ultimate goal is to accelerate humanity’s expansion across the solar system – a widely perceived future of the people on the Earth. There are postulations that trillions of human population would live and work in space sometime in the future. Scientists have already proposed Quantum money (virtual currency) that could enable Galactic-scale commerce.