Jeff Bezos, chairman of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and founder of Blue Origin, unveiled a new moon lander called Blue Moon and a small rover at an event where he explained his space company’s strategy to solve earth’s long-range energy problem.
The richest man in the world painted a Sci-Fi-like picture of utopian space colonies, a concept first envisioned by professor Gerard O’Neill in his 1976 book, The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space. The colonies wouldn’t be on other planets or the moon but would be orbiting in space. Ideally, according to Bezos, earth would be “zoned for residential and light industry”. Polluting industry would be outsourced off of the planet
The mission of Blue Origin’s new moon lander will not be to build these space colonies, but to create the infrastructure that allows them to exist in the future. “We’re going to build a road to space” said Bezos.
The private company plans to use reusable launch vehicles to reduce launch costs and take advantage of in-space resources. “We were given a gift — this nearby body called the moon,” Bezos said, adding 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”.
The Blue Moon lander can bring 3.6 metric tons to the lunar surface, according to Bezos, with a deck designed to hold and secure a variety of payloads. The lander, three years in the making, is designed to autonomously navigate and communicate with earth in real time.