Amazon Prime on the moon?
Two-day package delivery is probably not feasible, but Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos wants to fly unmanned cargo missions to the moon starting in July 2020 as part of an effort to establish a permanent lunar colony there.
Blue Origin, Bezos’ start-up venture, is apparently seeking to partner with NASA on this initiative, according to an “exclusive” conveniently enough published by the Washington Post, the fake news outlet also owned by Bezos, which somehow obtained a copy of a confidential memo. The Post has been relentless in its Trump bashing, so it is perhaps an unusual development that it is now lobbying the Trump administration for Amazon Prime in space.
“Blue Origin has been circulating a seven-page white paper to NASA leadership and President Trump’s transition team about the company’s interest in developing a lunar spacecraft with a lander that would touch down near a crater at the south pole where there is water and nearly continuous sunlight for solar energy.,” the Post claimed about the Bezos effort that is attempting to get off the ground, as it were.
“The memo urges the space agency to back an Amazon-like shipment service for the moon that would deliver gear for experiments, cargo and habitats by mid-2020, helping to enable ‘future human settlement’ of the moon.” (RELATED: Read more about the Trump administration at Trump.news.)
In yet another policy reversal from its predecessor, the Trump administration, which apparently is more enthusiastic and entrepreneurial-minded about space exploration, is considering including a crew on the first launch of the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft that would circle the moon next year in a mission that originally was to be unmanned. About seven years ago, Obama ruled out any further lunar missions.
Astronaut Gene Cernan, the Apollo 17 commander who recently passed away, was the last person to walk on the moon in December 1972.
A permanent foothold on the moon could also facilitate exploration of other planets by providing a base of operations there. Last week, Jeff Bezos said that “I think that if you go to the moon first, and make the moon your home, then you can get to Mars more easily.”
NASA is increasingly receptive about working with the private sector, particularly in connection with the International Space Station, which is serviced by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. In turn, private industry generally appears very interested in participating in a potential moon mission.
Parenthetically, SpaceX recently claimed that it will offer to space tourists a week-long trip around the moon in late 2018. “The companies are part of a private sector space boom that has restored the United States’ position in aerospace technology and exploration,” the New York Times noted about Blue Origin and SpaceX, adding that Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and other firms are competing in the space race. SpaceX also has plans to go to Mars and set up a human colony on the Red Planet.
Blue Origin, which hopefully for all concerned is more real than the billionaire’s fake news organization, secured its first paying customer this week, with an agreement to deliver a satellite into space for Paris-based Eutelstaton on a Blue Origin rocket sometime in the next five years.
Bezos this week introduced his company’s New Glenn orbital rocket that is expected carry the Eutelstat satellite, along with an accompanying animated video. “The rocket will be capable of carrying almost 100,000 pounds of payload into low-Earth orbit and almost 29,000 pounds to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), which is 22,000 miles higher,” the Space Reporter explained.
The proposed Blue Moon moon lander could fly atop a NASA rocket or the New Glenn rocket, among other options under consideration.