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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reveals spaceship model and plans to put humans on the moon

Bezos said his space company Blue Origin will land a robotic ship the size of a small house on the moon.

Image: Patrick Semansky

AMAZON FOUNDER JEFF Bezos has announced plans to send a spaceship and humans to the moon.

Bezos said his space company Blue Origin will land a robotic ship the size of a small house and capable of carrying four rovers using a newly designed rocket engine, on the moon. 

It would be followed by a version that could bring people to the moon along the same timeframe as NASA’s proposed 2024 return.

Bezos revealed a mock-up of the Blue Moon vehicle at a presentation on Thursday saying: “This is an incredible vehicle and it’s going to the moon”.

The announcement for the usually secretive space company came with all the spectacle of an Apple product launch with a convention ballroom lined with shimmering stars.

Astronauts and other space luminaries sat in the audience before Bezos unveiled the boxy ship.

Bezos, who also owns newspaper The Washington Post, walked off the stage without providing details around launch dates, customers and the plan for humans on his rockets.

Blue Origin Vice President, Clay Mowry, said 2024 was not a concrete goal for a mission with people and said that was more up to NASA as a potential customer.

Former U.S. Representative, Robert Walker, a private space consultant who is working with Blue Origin, said it plans for a 2023 launch without people.

In 2017, Blue Origin revealed plans to send an unmanned, reusable rocket to the moon.

The company had a successful launch earlier this month, reusing one of its rockets for a fifth time.

Race to the moon

The new moon race has a lower profile than the one in the 1960s.

Private companies as well as a number of countries are aiming to secure the next big advance in space exploration. 

NASA has previously revealed details of a mission to place astronauts back on the lunar surface by 2024.

While a $30 million prize for private companies to send robotic probes to the moon went unclaimed last year, one of the competitors, from an Israeli private nonprofit, crashed last month as it tried to land.

China has landed a rover on the moon’s far side, SpaceX last year announced plans to send a Japanese businessman around the moon in 2023, and the Israeli nonprofit said it will give it a second shot.

The first successful moon landing was by the Soviet Union in 1966 with Luna 9, followed by the US four months later.

NASA put the first, and only, people on the moon in the Apollo program, starting with Apollo 11 in July 1969.

“The next leap in space will be fueled by commercial companies like Blue Origin and commercial innovation,” said former Obama White House space adviser Phil Larson, now an assistant dean of engineering at the University of Colorado.

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Associated Press

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