Billionaire Jeff Bezos to unveil plans for moon presence, sources say

Eric Berger 
Meet the Blue Moon lander

Jeff Bezos has unveiled 'Blue Moon, ' the lunar lander from private space company Blue Origin.

"It's an incredible vehicle, and it will go to the Moon", the Amazon founder declared.

"We can help make that timeline, but only because we started three years ago", he said.

Blue Origin says the cargo variant it has just revealed can carry 3.6 metric tons to its destination.

A new space on Blue Origin's website describes the lander as being capable of "precise and soft landings" to enable "a sustained human presence on the Moon". With Blue Moon and other moon transportation options, humans might have the ability to establish habitats in space.

Meet the Blue Moon lander.

Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos said on Thursday he's going to send a spaceship to the moon, joining a resurgence of lunar interest half a century after people first set foot there. When he graduated in 1982 as a valedictorian of Miami Palmetto High School, Bezos said he wanted to build space colonies with his final objective "to get all people off the Earth and see it turned into a huge national park", CNBC.com reports. The space agency recently updated its space-exploration plans at the behest of Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.

The lander's descent is to be powered by the newly-announced BE-7 engine, which has also been in development for a while and is expected to undergo its first hotfire test this summer.

If there is enough water ice on the surface, it could be mined and used for rocket fuel - making it easier to explore and stay on the moon, according to experts.

Mr Bezos, who has talked about his broader vision of enabling a future in which millions of people live and work in space, has been intent on moving Blue Origin closer to commercialisation.

"One of the most important things we know about the moon today is that there's water there", Bezos said. Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which Trump has frequently targeted in his broadsides about "fake news".

His announcement came about two months before the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and he began his presentation with video of that event.

A site near the south pole of the Moon was named after Shackleton - a crater with rims that are exposed to nearly continual sunlight.

Shackleton and his crew had planned to cross Antarctica via the South Pole in the ship, but it became trapped in ice, forcing them to evacuate.

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