"This vehicle is going to the moon," the world's richest man declared Monday, unveiling his Blue Origin spacecraft company's Blue Moon lunar lander. Jeff Bezos told space industry execs at a Washington, DC, press conference Thursday that he believes the Trump administration's goal of getting US astronauts back to the moon by 2024 can be met "because we started this three years ago," CNBC reports. According to the new Blue Moon mission page, the spacecraft is a "flexible lander delivering a wide variety of small, medium and large payloads to the lunar surface. Its capability to provide precise and soft landings will enable a sustained human presence on the moon."
In what ABC describes as a "rambling" talk about space, the Amazon.com founder spoke about his plans for space colonization. "It’s time to go back to the moon, this time to stay," he said, explaining that there are "certain gates, certain precursors" to building space colonies, and Blue Moon is one of them. He said the moon is a good place to begin manufacturing in space, because it "takes 24 times less energy to get it off the surface compared to the Earth." Bezos, speaking in front of a mock-up of the lander, said it could carry 6.5 metric tons of payload weight and land four moon rovers at the same time, Wired reports. He also unveiled the company's new BE-7 rocket engine, which he said would be test-fired for the first time this summer. (Read more Blue Origin stories.)