Tech: Jeff Bezos plans to build and launch a 'large lunar lander' as part of his quest to colonize space

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Blue Moon is a concept for a "large lunar lander" that Jeff Bezos' aerospace company, Blue Origin, plans to build and launch.

Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth, is designing a spacecraft to land on the moon with his rocket company, Blue Origin. An illustration of the "large" lunar lander, called Blue Moon, was released Wednesday.

  • Jeff Bezos, the richest person on Earth, is designing a spacecraft to land on the moon.
  • Blue Origin, Bezos' 18-year-old rocket company, announced the plan on Wednesday.
  • Bezos has said he wants to move heavy industry off of Earth and into space to make "a very beautiful planet" and colonize space.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon — and now the richest person on Earth — is taking another concrete step toward colonizing space.

Bezos' 18-year-old rocket company, Blue Origin, announced on Wednesday that it's "in the conceptual design phase of a large lunar lander."

The goal of the mission, called Blue Moon, is to land on the moon and scout it for resources like water, which can be mined and potentially turned into rocket fuel. The effort is also part of a larger multi-partner competition called The Moon Race, which hopes to spur the creation of a lunar economy (and pick up where the Google Lunar XPRIZE left off).

"The future will be better for our children — and our children's children — if we use space to benefit life on Earth and enable millions of people to live and work in space," Blue Origin's written announcement said.

Bezos is selling about $1 billion' worth of his Amazon stock every year to fund Blue Origin's research and development. That work includes building a suborbital tourism rocket called New Shepard, as well as a much larger reusable rocket system called New Glenn, which is expected to debut in 2020.

Aside from Bezos' influx of cash, Blue Origin recently won NASA grants to develop its technologies and a contract to build powerful new BE-4 rocket engines for United Launch Alliance's newest rocket system, Vulcan.

Blue Origin's announcement about the lunar lander came soon after Elon Musk revealed that a Japanese billionaire named Yusaku Maezawa would be SpaceX's first moon tourist. Musk also gave new details about his aerospace company's Big Falcon Rocket system.

Whereas SpaceX's primary goal is to colonize Mars, Blue Origin's is to move heavy industry off of Earth and into space.

Bezos elaborated on his rationale for this during a wide-ranging interview with Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer (Business Insider's parent company) on April 24 in Berlin.

"I believe and I get increasing conviction with every passing year, that Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work I'm doing," Bezos told Döpfner. "We will move all heavy industry off of Earth, and Earth will be zoned residential and light industry. It will basically be a very beautiful planet."

Bezos added: "The solar system can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited — for all practical purposes — resources and solar power and so on. That's the world that I want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in."

Read Blue Origin's full announcement

Here is the full email announcement that Blue Origin sent on Wednesday, which included an illustration of the Blue Moon spacecraft (shown at the top of this story).

Hi There,

Moving heavy industry from Earth into space is at the core of Blue Origin's mission. The future will be better for our children – and our children's children – if we use space to benefit life on Earth and enable millions of people to live and work in space.

The next logical step in this path is a return to the moon. To do this we need reusable access to the lunar surface and its resources. Were in the conceptual design phase of a large lunar lander that will provide that access called Blue Moon.

We are not alone in our drive to return to the moon, and there have been some exciting updates this week at the 69th Annual International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany.

Blue has joined leading space companies and agencies to support the creation of The Moon Race, a non-profit working to launch a competition for teams looking for a ride to the lunar surface. The goal is consistent with our aim to land large payloads on the moon that can access and utilize the resources found there. We're supporting this initiative, along with ESA, Airbus, and other entities seeking to foster the next generation of lunar exploration – with Blue Moon and New Glenn.

Were also excited to announce a collaboration with OHB SE and MT Aerospace on a future Blue Moon mission.

Check out our tweets about The Moon Race and OHB announcements for more information.

Gradatim Ferociter!

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