Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and one of his Blue Origin rockets. (Blue Origin Photo)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos is about to lay out an updated vision for his “other” multibillion-dollar venture, the Blue Origin rocket company, including plans for missions to the moon.
Bezos is due to speak at an invitation-only event planned here in Washington at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) today. Details about his presentation were closely held in advance: The only hint that Blue Origin dropped on Twitter was a picture of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, sitting amid polar pack ice.
That’s interpreted as an allusion to Bezos’ plans for lunar exploration, starting with robotic missions to the moon’s polar regions and moving ahead to create a permanent human settlement on the lunar surface. A prime target for future lunar missions is Shackleton Crater near the lunar south pole, which is thought to have substantial reserves of water ice in its permanently shadowed depths.
For years, Blue Origin has been working on the design of a lander capable of delivering several tons’ worth of payload to the moon. The company suggested sending the lander, nicknamed Blue Moon, to Shackleton Crater ...