Yesterday, the Amazon founder talked about his vision to live in space. Bezos also unveiled Blue Origin’s prototype of a lunar lander.
“This is Blue Moon,” Mr. Bezos said on Thursday during an invite-only presentation in a convention center ballroom in Washington, DC.
“This vehicle is going to the moon,” said the owner of the aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin.
Bezos explained that the moon is a good place to begin manufacturing in space due to its lower gravity than the Earth. Getting resources from the moon “takes 24 times less energy to get it off the surface compared to the Earth,” Bezos said, and “that is a huge lever.”
The Blue Moon lander will weigh more than three metric tons empty and 15 fully fueled.
According to Bezos, the lander will be able to soft-land on the lunar surface carrying up to 6.5 metric tons of payload. He claims the lander will be able to carry a wide variety of payloads on its upper deck and land as many as four large moon rovers simultaneously. Blue Moon will also carry a future pressurized vehicle for humans.
Four legs will support the lander, with an upper deck where equipment can be fixed. A large tank of liquefied hydrogen fuel occupies its center.
“It’s an incredible vehicle, and it will go to the Moon,” the Amazon founder declared.
He plans to send the lunar lander to Shackleton Crater at the moon’s south pole.
The Shackleton Crater region is a pretty good spot for a lunar outpost because of a significant amount of water ice that could to exist there.
Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which in turn could fuel future exploration of the solar system.
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His media event followed Vice President Mike Pence’s March 26 announcement that NASA plans to build a space platform in lunar orbit and put American astronauts on the moon’s south pole by 2024 “by any means necessary,” four years earlier than previously planned.
“I love this,” Bezos said of Pence’s timeline. “We can help meet that timeline but only because we started three years ago. It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”
He didn’t announce a specific launch date but Blue Origin later said it was capable of meeting President Donald Trump’s announced goal of returning people to the Moon by 2024.
“We can help meet that timeline, but only because we started three years ago,” he said. “It’s time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay.”
However, while Bezos’s plans look good on paper, there is still a long way to go before anything becomes a reality. Blue Origin needs to demonstrate they can safely fly humans to space and back.
Mr. Bezos also unveiled a pretty ambitious vision of the future.
His dreams include a trillion people in space, living in multiple planets.
“This would be an incredible civilization,” Mr. Bezos said.
He plans to build an infrastructure that would sustain the colonization of space by future generations of humans and shift polluting industries off the Earth.
This would involve the construction of artificial worlds in space, inspired by designs first proposed by the late physicist Gerard K. O’Neill, one of Bezos’s heroes, intended to give humanity an escape route in case of limited resources on Earth.
“My generation’s job is to build the infrastructure,” said Bezos. “We’re going to build the road to space.”
He also clearly showed his desire to help NASA return to the Moon in 2024.
Several other aerospace companies are also expected to bid to build the lander for NASA, which is in the process of finalizing requests for proposals. Lockheed Martin proposed its own lander concept some months ago.
Here’s what happened at the event.
Blue Origin is also working on two other big projects: the first being New Shepard, a suborbital rocket designed to take tourists into space; and New Glenn, a heavy lift, partly reusable launch rocket.
Bezos confirmed his commitment to fly the first people in New Shepard this year, and New Glenn in 2021.