This could be the lander that takes people back to the moonBlue Origin By Leah CraneBlue Origin is going to the moon. On 9 May, the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a mock-up of a new lunar lander called Blue Moon, intended to take humans back to the lunar surface by 2024. Bezos said the company has been working on Blue Moon for the last three years, since well before US vice president Mike Pence announced the directive for NASA to send humans to the moon in 2024. “It’s time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay,” Bezos said at the end of the event. A new lunar lander is a necessary first step. Advertisement This fits in well with NASA’s plans, says space consultant Laura Forczyk. “They’re really trying to play up the obvious connection between what they’ve done at Blue Origin and NASA’s needs,” she says. “I do not see it as a competition with NASA, but I do see it as a bid for partnership with NASA.” Read more: Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander has crashed on the moon Blue Moon is designed to launch on Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket, which is currently in development, and is planned to be able to land up to 6.5 tonnes on the surface of the moon – enough for a variety of applications. In Bezos’ speech, he alluded to the idea of mining water from lunar ice deposits, as well as potentially harvesting solar power to the moon. “I think what he was able to do was to show that the lander has multiple capabilities, that it’s kind of a Swiss army knife,” says Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. It will be able to carry rovers, ascent vehicles to launch off the surface of the moon, and maybe even mining equipment, he says. The lander is built to run on hydrogen, which can in theory be extracted from water deposits on the moon’s surface. It will also use a new rocket engine revealed at the same event, which Bezos said will be test fired for the first time this summer. Bezos also presented a vision of moving manufacturing and trillions of humans onto space stations, rather than on other worlds like Mars. “It’s a big huge vision,” says Stallmer. “But you’ve gotta start small.” More on these topics: the moon space flight