Amazon and Blue Origin’s billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos introduced a new moon lander — Blue Moon yesterday on May 9. Three years in building, Blue Moon is capable of delivering about 3.6 – 6.5 metric ton load to the moon surface.
Bezos also announced with this lander, it can meet the US President Donald Trump’s vision to establish lunar outpost on the Moon by 2024.
Explaining the need for this lander, Bezos said, “We have to start working on the long range problems. It is a fact that earth’s energy is going to run out. On average we are using 10K Watts of power per person today and this rate of energy use is compounding by 3% every year.”
He further connected his reasoning to Amazon and said that the ecommerce infrastructure such as delivery systems, roads, computers, payment systems, already existed when Amazon has started. This helped reduce the cost of starting up, otherwise setting up the whole telecom network or the payment system before building an ecommerce platform would have cost billions.
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“My generation has to build the road to space, so that the upcoming generations can build lunar colonies in the future.” he added.
Two major challenges that Bezos saw in the road of making lunar living possible include, firstly there must be a radical reduction in the launch cost of the space vehicles. Second, the capability to use in-space resources has to be built.
Bezos said that the earth has a strong gravity force and thus, we cannot lift all resources from here. Contrastingly, the gravity on the moon is six times less than the earth. 24 times less energy is needed to lift a pound off the moon than it does to lift the pound off the earth. But moon also needs infrastructure.
One of the important things we know about the moon is the discovery of water on it. Blue Moon engine fuel are a combination of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. The choice for this fuel is backed by Bezos’ vision to build the refuelling capability on the Moon surface, by extracting hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis of water (ice) present on the moon.
Another entrepreneur making a bet on the space tech is Elon Musk. He is the founder of aerospace manufacturer SpaceX. Interestingly, Musk responded to Bezos’ Blue Moon announcement with a tweet which read, “Oh stop teasing, Jeff.”
Musk’s SpaceX had launched over 70 commercial orbitals till now including the 15 cargo deliveries to the International Space Station. SpaceX was also the first company to build a cargo delivery station along with being the manufacturer of the most powerful commercial rocket Falcon Heavy.