Bezos Plans to Land Aircraft on the Moon
Science fiction authors, particularly those who have written about the prospect of human space colonies, were likely elated when billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recently presented an ambitious plan to land a private spacecraft on the surface of the Moon by the year 2024. The elation is not limited to the advancement of commercial space ventures; Bezos also delivered a presentation on what he envisions to the be the future of space colonization, and it looks a lot like a vision previously presented in the 1970s.
Space Colony Planning
Gerard O’Neill, an astrophysicist who worked with NASA five decades ago, retained the services of a graphic artist with a background in architecture to render a vision of what a space habitat may look like. At that time, O’Neill’s inspiration was drawn from sci-fi book covers, emerging trends in urban design, and available space exploration research. It so happens that Bezos was O’Neill’s student at Princeton University, hence the similarity in what the Amazon CEO believes a space colony would look like. Naturally, we are still several decades away from terraforming other planets, but it should be noted that Bezos’ futuristic presentation was pretty much an enhanced sales pitch for what his Blue Origin aerospace company has actually developed: a commercial lunar lander module that could transport a crew to the Moon in a few years.
Tesla’s Elon Musk’s Response
Shortly after Bezos presented his Blue Moon lander, rival commercial aerospace entrepreneur Elon Musk could not resist taking a humorous jab. As the founder and CEO of SpaceX, a highly successful aerospace enterprise, Musk is undoubtedly interested in a commercial Moon landing mission, and his juvenile Twitter response to the Blue Origin project showed a tinge of envy. Musk used image editing software to rename the Blue Moon project after epididymal hypertension, a condition sometimes experienced by men whose sexual arousal does not culminate in orgasm.
Commercial Space Wars
There is no question that SpaceX has achieved far more than Blue Origin over the last two decades, but Bezos is not known as a bluffing executive. Musk has mostly focused on launch platforms, and his Crew Dragon module is expected to be used to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station, but he has not mentioned crew landing projects. SpaceX is making money while Blue Origin mostly relies on Bezos injecting a billion dollars each year. However, aerospace analysts believe that the Blue Moon project is not only feasible but could also include the first terraforming experiment, albeit on a small scale, in the history of space exploration. What is clear about SpaceX and Blue Origin is that they are engaged in commercial space wars, and humanity stands to benefit from every battle.
Photo Credits: “Jeff Bezos at Amazon Spheres Grand Opening in Seattle – 2018 ” by Seattle City Council is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / A derivative from the original work