Jeff Bezos, who heads both Amazon and space company Blue Origin, unveiled on Thursday a lunar lander that he said would be used to transport equipment, and possibly human beings, to the south pole of the Moon by 2024.
“This is Blue Moon,” he said at a presentation in Washington, as curtains lifted to show a mock-up of a huge vessel weighing many tons and able to carry four self-driving rovers.
“It’s an incredible vehicle, and it will go to the Moon,” he declared.
The vehicle has been under development for the past three years, he said. It will be capable of carrying scientific instruments and also rovers for humans.
The goal is to land on the Moon’s south pole, where there is ice. Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which in turn could fuel future exploration of the solar system.
Bezos didn’t announce a specific date for the project’s first launch, but said the lander would be in ready in time to make President Donald Trump’s announced timeline to return people to the Moon by 2024.
“We can help make that timeline, but only because we started three years ago,” he said. “It’s time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay.”