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If you ever thought your childhood dream of living on the Moon was just that, well that dream might be closer to reality than you think. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos revealed plans to get us to the Moon and stay there on Thursday at a press conference in Washington DC for his private spaceflight company, Blue Origin.
Jeff Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 to help create more cost-effective means of traveling to space. The mission of Blue Origin is to one day support millions of people living and working in space. For Bezos, that future begins with supporting human colonies on the Moon. Of course, one can't live on the Moon without landing on it — enter Blue Moon, the new lunar lander from Blue Origin.
This lander has been in development for three years and there's some serious tech behind it. Blue Moon is billed as a flexible lander capable of delivering a wide variety of small, medium and large payloads to the Moon's surface. It's also capable of autonomous space navigation and, according to The Verge, can carry four large rovers which will one day be able to transport people away from the landing site. Blue Moon can also map the lunar landscape to find the best landing site using an onboard navigation system. CNN reports a total of six possible customers already interested in the updated lunar lander.
Here's a video of the new lunar lander:
It looks like Bezos has taken Vice President Mike Pence's call to get America back to the Moon by 2024 to heart. Bezos believes Blue Moon's ability to deliver and deploy a variety of payloads will help humans in their quest to make the Moon habitable. This view is similar to one shared by NASA and their multi-stage lunar lander.
Don't start packing your bags just yet, though. There's a lot that needs to happen before humans can live on the Moon. First, the cost of space travel alone makes it near impossible to establish a human colony. To that end, Blue Origin has been working to reduce the cost of space travel through its development of reusable rockets, similar to an idea Elon Musk has piloted at SpaceX.
There's another obvious issue with trying to colonize the Moon, and that's the need for resources and infrastructure. Think about it; there's no food, no shelter or any of the raw materials available needed to create those two essentials. Part of the objective with Blue Moon is to slowly build out the infrastructure required to make life on the Moon possible. Hence why the lander is capable of delivering such massive payloads.
Getting people comfortable with the idea of living on the Moon may prove to be another hiccup. Blue Origin has been working on getting people more comfortable with the idea of space travel with their space tourism endeavor New Shepard. During the press conference, Bezos believes the suborbital rocket will be capable of launching passengers into space in 2019. Yes, as in this year. Space tourists who choose to board the New Shepard can expect to spend 11 minutes at the edge of space.
Jeff Bezos believes the time is ripe for space exploration and investment, a sentiment he expressed multiple times throughout his presentation: "It's time to go back to the Moon and this time stay."
While we may not be the first round of candidates to sign up to live on the Moon, we are excited to see what the future of space exploration and habitation might look like.