Jeff Bezos unveils ‘Blue Moon’ lunar lander

Jeff Bezos is set to take humans to the moon. 

At an event in Washington on Thursday, Bezos’ spaceflight company Blue Origin unveiled Blue Moon, a lunar lander that can deliver large payloads to the moon.

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According to Blue Origin, Blue Moon can land multiple metric tons of payload on the lunar surface, including infrastructure payloads that could be used to prepare for future missions. It can land anywhere on the moon, and has enough power for long missions. A larger variant of the lander, currently in development, can land an ascent vehicle which will allow the company to send humans to the moon and bring them back by 2024. 

The year 2024 coincides with the U.S. government’s goal to bring astronauts to the moon. NASA still hasn’t publicly announced a detailed plan on how to do that, and Bezos’ announcement may be a path to a partnership. 

We’ll likely see Blue Moon in action before that date; Bezos said the company would test it with an uncrewed mission before sending humans to the moon. 

Elon Musk, whose SpaceX company also plans to take humans to the moon (though without landing) and, eventually, Mars, said on Twitter that “competition is good” but also took the opportunity to crack a joke at Blue Moon’s branding. 

But putting the word “Blue” on a ball is questionable branding

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 10, 2019

Blue Origin is not the only private company to develop a lunar lander. Last month, Lockheed Martin announced plans to build a lunar lander of its own, also within the 2024 time frame. 

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