In September 2016, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced his grand ambitions to colonise Mars. Earlier this week, he doubled down on that promise by announcing SpaceX’s plan to launching two private citizens in a tour around the Moon in late 2018. Not to be outdone by his billionaire competitor, this week, it was revealed that Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos is planning to launch a cargo spacecraft to shuttle goods — and eventually, humans — to and from the Moon, with uncrewed missions beginning as early as July 2020.
This stunning discovery was uncovered by The Washington Post, which is conveniently owned by Jeff Bezos.
According to WaPo, Blue Origin has been circulating a seven-page white paper to NASA leadership and the Trump transition team, detailing Bezos’s ambitions. Apparently, the Amazon CEO has urged NASA to create an initiative that “incentives to the private sector to demonstrate a commercial lunar cargo delivery service,” per the documents. Bezos wrote that the only way his project can work is with NASA’s expertise and assistance.
“Our liquid hydrogen expertise and experience with precision vertical landing offer the fastest path to a lunar lander mission,” Bezos wrote. “I’m excited about this and am ready to invest my own money alongside NASA to make it happen.”
Bezos’ plan is to fly a hypothetical “Blue Moon” lunar lander atop a NASA’s SLS rocket, United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V, or the company’s own New Glenn rocket all the way to the Moon’s South Pole. There, the Blue Moon’s solar panels can receive ample solar panels in order to function.
“Once on the surface, the lander’s useful payload can be used to conduct science or deploy rovers,” Bezos said. “A robotic arm attached to the lander will deploy to examine the lunar surface with an array of instruments.”
The next steps are a bit unclear, even if all goes according to plan. That said, in the same document, Bezos revealed that his ultimate goal is to create a “permanently inhabited lunar settlement,” and that delivering supplies to the Moon would be the first step toward that eventual goal.
Although Blue Origin has launched its dick-shaped New Shepard rocket five times over the last year, the company remains notoriously secretive, in stark contrast to its main competitor, SpaceX. We’ll take all the crumbs of news we can get, especially all those Bezos exclusives from The Washington Post!
And while one click shopping on the Moon sounds very exciting, let’s wait and see how this all pans out. Gizmodo has reached out to Bezos and Blue Origin for comment and will update this post if we hear back, which is highly unlikely, but was worth a shot.