While SpaceX founder Elon Musk is looking forward to set up a colony on Mars, its competitor Blue Origin wants to start by delivering packages to the Moon. The latter, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is currently exploring opportunities to begin an ‘Amazon-like shipment service’ to the lunar surface, reports Washington Post. But, that’s not all, what will happen to the shipments?
This lunar mission has been detailed in a seven-page proposal, which is marked “proprietary and confidential” and is currently being circulated among NASA leadership and U.S President Trump’s transition team. The document reportedly proposes the development of a lunar spacecraft that would land at the south pole region of the Moon. The task of the said lander has been described in the report as under:
Once on the surface, the lander’s useful payload can be used to conduct science or deploy rovers. A robotic arm attached to the lander will deploy to examine the lunar surface with an array of instruments.
Then, Blue Origin plans to make way for the lunar delivery service, which will help deliver as much as 10,000 pounds of experimental gear, cargo and most likely inhabitant by mid-2020. This has been described as a space-focused equivalent of Amazon Prime — their subscription-based delivery service. This mission, as mentioned, is expected to once again carry humans to the Moon and make them stay this time around.
The said location is favorable for setting up the first inhabitable base on the lunar surface. The south pole is said to have an abundant supply of water and near continuous sunlight for charging the lander using solar energy. With regards to the same, Bezos’ proposal is aimed at pushing NASA to provide “incentives to the private sector to demonstrate a commercial lunar cargo delivery service.” It could be launched using Blue Origin’s upcoming New Glenn rocket or NASA’s Space Launch System.
Talking about the same, Jeff Bezos sent the following statement:
It is time for America to return to the Moon — this time to stay. A permanently inhabited lunar settlement is a difficult and worthy objective. I sense a lot of people are excited about this.
This lunar settlement proposal has surfaced at a pretty interesting time when enthusiasm for Moon mission has been renewed by the current administration. The previous one was more dedicated towards achieving new endeavors, hence, it focused their attention on Mars missions. But, Moon is now back in the limelight due to cheaper and faster return process, which is gathering support from the current administration.
The said development also comes on the heels of SpaceX’s exciting announcement of completing their first manned Dragon mission. Elon Musk just recently said that his private space company will send two currently-unnamed, private citizen on a seven-day tourist trip around the Moon — earliest by next year. The company expects to conduct health and fitness tests and begin initial training, later this year before giving them a nod to ride and go public.
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