Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has revealed aspirations to create a stable, frequent delivery service to the moon over four decades since a man last walked on the surface.
Bezos, who also owns private aerospace firm Blue Origin and The Washington Post, told the publication in an interview that in order to maintain a stable colony on the moon, a reliable delivery service is of paramount importance.
In a "propriety and confidential" white paper sent to NASA chiefs, Blue Origin urged scientists to consider a proposal to develop a lunar spacecraft for use as an Amazon-esque shipment service which could be used to deliver everything from equipment to food to moon settlers by mid-2020.
The delivery service could also be used to deliver inflatable 'habitats' for settlers, which would shelter equipment, resources, and human personnel. Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, says that such habitats could be ready for deployment within the next three years.
Blue Origin believes such craft -- and services -- will help enable "future human settlement" on the moon's surface.
"It is time for America to return to the Moon -- this time to stay," Bezos told the publication. "A permanently inhabited lunar settlement is a difficult and worthy objective. I sense a lot of people are excited about this."
The paper suggests that craft designed by Blue Origin could carry as much as 10,000 pounds of material, and would be able to fly atop of different rockets including NASA's Space Launch System.
Bezos says that the first delivery attempt could be made as early as July 2020, but only if his private company has the support of NASA.
"Our liquid hydrogen expertise and experience with precision vertical landing offer the fastest path to a lunar lander mission," Bezos says. "I'm excited about this and am ready to invest my own money alongside NASA to make it happen."
NASA has not ventured back to the moon since Eugene Cernan stepped foot on the surface in 1972. However, the space agency has committed to encourage US companies to invest in spaceflight and develop sustainable business plans to commercialize space, and already works with Elon Musk's SpaceX in providing support and advice to the startup's ambitious plans to fly to Mars.
However, cargo has not really featured, and so Bezos has encouraged the US agency to provide "incentives to the private sector to demonstrate a commercial lunar cargo delivery service."
"Blue Moon is all about cost-effective delivery of mass to the surface of the moon," Bezos told the publication. "Any credible first lunar settlement will require that capability."
This isn't the first ambitious dream of sending products to the moon we've heard of in recent times.
In January, a team of students from the University of California at San Diego revealed plans to brew beer on the moon to test how fermentation works in zero-gravity situations, and Elon Musk's SpaceX wants to send private clients to the moon by 2018.
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