Forget packages delivered by drones, Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has a new plan for travel and let’s just say it takes us out of this world.
In a packed press room, the billionaire owner of aerospace company Blue Origin announced plans to bring Americans to the moon in the next five years – possibly to stay. The self-proclaimed precise and versatile Blue Moon lander is an unmanned aircraft capable of carrying up to 6.5 metric tons nearly 386,000 kilometers (240,000 miles) for a lunar landing. Its descent sensors and machine learning technology allow for it to theoretically land anywhere on the moon with accuracy, bringing with it “a wide variety of small, medium, and large payload to the lunar surface,” writes the company. “Its capability to provide precise and soft landings will enable a sustained human presence on the Moon.”
That’s right: the man is thinking long-term. In a live feed curated by CNN, Bezos reportedly said that the world is incapable of preventing a crisis and will eventually reach a point where humans will have to ration.
"That’s the path that we would be on," he said. "It would lead for the first time to where your children and grandchildren have worse lives than you. That's a bad path."
He’s not just planning to land on the moon but envisions a future of full-on colonization in O’Neill Cylinder Colonies fashion. As the New York Times reports, Bezos believes self-sustaining space colonies complete with flora, fauna, and humans could be in our near space development future in time to allow future generations a home in space.
Until then, we have Blue Moon to look forward to.
The lunar lander has been in development for three years and will use a reusable New Glenn rocket, also engineered by Blue Origin and expected to launch for the first time in 2021. An engine known as BE-7 is similarly designed to make complicated maneuvers required for a lunar landing, which could be tested for the first time as soon as this summer.
Bezos added that his lunar lander already has six customers, including academic institutions, and that more space infrastructure is needed if humans are expected to live beyond our home planet. Similar sentiments were expressed by Elon Musk last fall when the Tesla founder announced the world’s first private passenger craft to fly on a week-long, 386,000-kilometer (240,000-mile) trek to the moon.
“It’s important to bear in mind there could be some natural event or some manmade event that ends civilization and life as we know it,” Musk said at the time. “It’s important that we try to become a multi-planet civilization and extend life beyond earth, and do so as quickly as we can.”
The waiting list may be long, but it's there nonetheless. You can learn how to fly with Blue Origin here.