Amazon tycoon Jeff Bezos says he's going to send a spaceship to the moon, joining a resurgence of lunar interest half a century after people first set foot there.
Blue Origin is due to lay out plans for missions to the moon and a lunar lander at an event in Washington DC on Thursday night.
One key piece of infrastructure is "Blue Moon", the company's lunar lander, which has been in the works for three years, a jeans and blazer-clad Bezos said.
The Amazon founder was referring to comments by Vice President Mike Pence, who said it is the mission of the United States to return Americans to space in the next five years.
"We have been given a gift - this nearby body called the moon", Bezos said, listing factors that make the moon a good target for space travel, including its proximity to earth, low gravity, and ice content. He shared mock-ups of O'Neill cylinders, conceptual space colonies proposed by the physicist Gerard O'Neill that would rotate to simulate gravity and be able to sustain human and plant life.
Bezos extolled his belief in the idea that humans could live in environments that were ideal and create colonies where heavy industry can be carried out without subjecting the earth to atmospheric pollution. It is not even close. Like Elon Musk's SpaceX, Blue Origin has focused on reusable rockets.
Bezos says his space company Blue Origin will land a robotic ship the size of a small house, capable of carrying four rovers and using a newly designed rocket engine and souped-up rockets.
"We're going to be flying humans in New Shepherd this year", Bezos said.