WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- As agencies around the world race to begin establishing bases and villages on the Moon we’re going to need a company that can help transport all the equipment and supplies
The cost of going into space has plummeted over the past few years, in some cases falling from $100 million a launch to $35 million, for the biggest rockets like the SpaceX Falcon 9, and you can launch your miniature cubesats, like the eighty odd that were launched recently by Planet for hundreds of thousands of dollars. And as everyone’s fascination with space continues almost unabated, including SpaceX’s two private space tourists who’ll circumnavigate the Moon in 2018, Jeff Bezos and his space outfit Blue Origin wants in one the action – it looks like he’s not satisfied with just messing around with Amazon’s delivery drones which made their first UK delivery last year.
However, Bezos being Bezos, the famous CEO of Amazon, has now announced that he wants to develop a lunar spacecraft with a lander named “Blue Moon.” And he wants to use it to create the Moon’s first Moon delivery service. Hey, why not!? Even Moon colonists need pizzas, 42” TV’s… and banjos.
The company has been circulating a seven page white paper to NASA officials and Trump’s transition team containing the project’s details.
Apparently, Blue Moon will be able to carry up to 10,000 pounds of cargo to space and can be launched on top of NASA’s huge Space Launch System (SLS), a remake of the famous Saturn V rocket, the United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V or Blue Origin’s own New Glenn rocket.
For now the Blue Origin team appear to have chosen the Shackleton crater on the moon’s south pole as its landing site, since that region has continuous sunlight that its spacecraft’s solar panels can use, and Shackleton is also rich in water ice that Blue Moon can use to create rocket fuel.
Bezos believes the project’s first mission could happen as soon as July 2020, but he admits it can only be done in partnership with NASA.
“It is time for America to return to the Moon, this time to stay. A permanently inhabited lunar settlement is a difficult and worthy objective. I sense a lot of people are excited about this… our liquid hydrogen expertise and experience with precision vertical landing offer the fastest path to a lunar lander mission. I’m excited about this and am ready to invest my own money alongside NASA to make it happen,” he said.
And who knows, now the European Space Agency (ESA), has announced its plans to build the first Moon village beginning later this year the first generation of Moon colonists could be binge eating pizzas and playing the banjo in their new pad as early as 2021.