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Amazon’s Bezos Supports Trump’s Moon Mission Plans While Revealing His Plans for Lunar Lander

Amazon’s Bezos Supports Trump’s Moon Mission Plans While Revealing His Plans for Lunar Lander

In other lunar news, India may become the next nation to land on the moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JROFIBGh1lI

It looks like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has planned to expand his firm’s delivery range.

The entrepreneur unveiled a mockup of a lunar lander built by his Blue Origin rocket company. Bezos also announced his support for the Trump administration’s renewed push to establish a lunar outpost in just five years.

The world’s richest man and Amazon.com Inc’s chief executive waved an arm and a black drape behind him dropped to reveal the two-story-tall mockup of the unmanned lander dubbed Blue Moon during an hour-long presentation at Washington’s convention center, just several blocks from the White House.

The lander will be able to deliver payloads to the lunar surface, deploy up to four smaller rovers and shoot out satellites to orbit the moon, Bezos told the audience, which included NASA officials and potential Blue Moon customers.

His media event followed Vice President Mike Pence’s March 26 announcement that NASA plans to build a space platform in lunar orbit and put American astronauts on the moon’s south pole by 2024 “by any means necessary,” four years earlier than previously planned.

“I love this,” Bezos said of Pence’s timeline. “We can help meet that timeline but only because we started three years ago. It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay.”

Bezos has been at odds with Trump over a number of issues related to Amazon and his newspaper The Washington Post.  It will be wonderful to see Americans of differing politics coming together for a moon landing.

A former professor and a current rival seems to have motivated Bezos.

The moon has always been central to Bezos’s space-faring dreams, as well as the vision of his former professor, the late Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill. O’Neill, an iconoclast who passed away in 1992, envisioned a future with millions of humans living in space inside giant orbiting space cylinders, growing crops and harnessing the energy of the sun. The physicist theorized that the moon, a repository of raw materials and free of the atmosphere and punitive gravitational forces of the Earth, could be the staging ground to construct and economically launch such habitats.

This focus on the moon as the most effective way to start colonizing space sets Bezos apart from fellow space-faring tech billionaire Elon Musk, who sees colonizing Mars as humanity’s best “Plan B.” Bezos dubbed that kind of thinking to “planet chauvinism.” His pitch for a lunar landing even included a jab at those prefer to aim for Mars. “Round-trip on the order of years,” read one slide with an image of the red planet. “No real-time communication.”

In other lunar news, India may become next nation to land on the moon.

The moon’s south pole has never been explored from the ground, but India’s new Chandrayaan-2 mission will attempt a 1st-ever landing there, with a rover, this September.

So far, only three countries have successfully landed on the moon – the United States, the former Soviet Union and China – but that might change soon, if all goes according to plan. India is preparing to launch its second lunar mission this summer, and this time the goal is to actually land on the surface, near the moon’s south pole. If successful, India would become the fourth nation to land on the moon and the spacecraft, Chandrayaan-2, would be the first of any country to land in that region.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced the plans via Twitter on May 1, 2019. As of now, the spacecraft is scheduled to launch sometime between July 9 and July 16, 2019, from the ISRO launch facility on Sriharikota, an island off India’s southeastern coast.

We hope Chandrayaan-2 fares better in its mission than Israel’s Beresheet!

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Comments

It looks like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has planned to expand his firm’s delivery range.

Is that included with Amazon Prime?

What I see is another big government advocate pushing to enjoy the benefits of big government grants.

At least Bezos recognizes that the moon is a vital first step. We don’t need to go to Mars for anything other than bragging rights. The moon is a big enough challenge and we should be staking our claims as fast as possible and establishing a base of operations.

Let Zuckerberg and Branson indulge in their quixotic romance with Mars. The moon is doable right now. Mars is at best a couple of generations away from even having a temporarily manned base. We don’t have to evolve so much biologically to inhabit the moon like we would to inhabit Mars.

    The the first step should always have been orbital docking facilities large enough to handle space-going vessels which will reach semi-habital planets, such as Mars. The only thing that the Moon has going for it is potential mineral wealth. It can not even marginally support human life and is far enough from the Earth to present significant logistical challenges. Its gravity well, while significantly less than that of its parent planet, would still be strong enough to significantly increase the cost for space vessels to leave the surface of that body. The Moon is a dead end for deep space exploration. It is a cool photo op, though.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Mac45. | May 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      The moon’s gravity well can be dealt with with a rail gun, powered by a nuclear reactor. Once that was in, it could also send refined products back to earth, generating revenue to further build up moon facilities. The key to this is making it financially viable and self sufficient.

        You have to do a realistic cost analysis, on the benefits of acquiring raw materials from the moon.

        First is the cost of maintaining a presence on the Moon. How much is that going to cost? Then there are transport options. The railgun idea sounds good, but deep space vessels, which do not have to enter the gravity well at all, are much more efficient and cost effective. Of course, this requires extensive orbital infrastructure in Earth orbit, to be efficient. As you would have to have Earth orbit facilities to efficiently handle Moon-Earth traffic, there it would be much more efficient to launch deep space vessels to the outer , and inner, Solar System from Earth orbit, rather than Lunar orbit.

        To build up space exploration, you have to start in Earth orbit and establish viable working habitats. Then you travel to adjacent worlds and build up working space habitats there. This eliminates a lot of the problems with lifting mass out of a gravity well as well as dealing with planetary conditions on a long term basis. But, we shut down space exploration by abandoning Earth orbital habitats, especially those which would function as terminals for deep space vessels. Funds were diverted to social programs and now we are about 4 decades behind the curve. And, realistically, we may never catch up.

      alaskabob in reply to Mac45. | May 13, 2019 at 3:13 pm

      I agree that orbital facilities outside gravity wells of planets and moons gives flexibility. Still having a lunar base provides a firm base of ops (it can’t de-orbit). A big issue is still artificial gravity for long duration flights.

      A great site dealing with all of this is:

      https://www.centauri-dreams.org/

      Firewatch in reply to Mac45. | May 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      But wouldn’t Rosie pay big bucks to weigh 110 pounds there?

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    Mars does have potential, but it makes sense to do the moon first, and take advantage its resources to build out.

    One problem with the moon is that it could be easily nuked from earth.

    While in middle school and high school I was building rockets, not models. The last one stood about 6 1/6 feet high, and flew twenty miles. I designed my own telemetry package.

    Upon graduating from high school, my goal was to get a degree work for NASA, but while working towards that goal NASA had a huge layoff, where lots of PhD’s were pumping gas to make ends meet. I married and gave up on any career related to space.

    I am glad to see that we are on the cusp of starting to move some of our eggs beyond earth.

Mars will take a few years round trip. We need faster rockets and better technology. The Moon is doable now. We got to the Moon and back with 50 year old technology.

daniel_ream | May 13, 2019 at 1:14 pm

Both the Moon and Mars are utter wastes of time and money. Everything Bruce Sterling said about Mars goes a dozen times over for the Moon.

I’ll believe in people settling Mars at about the
same time I see people setting the Gobi Desert.
The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times
as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times
cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever
writes “Gobi Desert Opera” because, well,
it’s just kind of plonkingly obvious that there’s
no good reason to go there and live. It’s ugly,
it’s inhospitable and there’s no way to
make it pay. Mars is just the same, really.
We just romanticize it because it’s so hard to reach.

There’s nothing of any economic value on the Moon either, and living there will be little different than living in LEO. So there’s no reason to go. Mars at least it’s technically feasible to create self-sustaining habitats.

amatuerwrangler | May 13, 2019 at 3:10 pm

You guys are neglecting the fact that the whole thing is kaput in 12 years…. The clock is ticking. Doomed, I say.

So far, only three countries have successfully landed on the moon – the United States, the former Soviet Union and China

Sounds like Israel had better get a move on.

A glimpse of what life will be like in a space colony. Such a deal: living where an oppressive authority can deny potential nonconformists’ the very air that they breathe:

https://www.bloombergquint.com/technology/is-anyone-listening-to-you-on-alexa-a-global-team-reviews-audio

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/china-selling-high-tech-tyranny-to-latin-america-stoking-us-concern .

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