There has been an upsurge in interest of recent by quite a few companies to develop technology and spacecraft that can help with travel to the moon. This is due to NASA’s renewed interest to return to the moon and the much-anticipated support from the current administration in Washington to bring Americans together “the way the Apollo flights did in the late 1960s and early 1970s,” according to the Washington Post.
It’s hard to believe that we have not put an astronaut on the moon since 1972 when Eugene Cernan made the last visit with the Apollo 17. But with the renewed interest, many companies are showing support and excitement to get behind this sort of project.
One such company is Blue Origin, a space company owned by Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon. In a seven-page white paper to NASA and the White House, Bezos outlined their interest in producing a spacecraft that “would touch down near a crater at the south pole where there is water and nearly continuous sunlight for solar energy.” This craft would be used for delivering gear and cargo to enable “future human settlement” on the moon but would not include transporting humans by mid-2020.
“It is time for America to return to the Moon — this time to stay,” Bezos said in response by email to the Washington Post.
Bezos’s proposal came on the heels of SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk announcement last week that they are looking to send two private citizens on a tourist trip around the moon by 2018.
NASA also announced it is contemplating adding astronauts to the first flight of its Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule to circle the moon. This project was scheduled to fly without humans by next year, but now it is looking to add astronauts for a 2019 lift off.
Another interested company is Bigelow Aerospace, a maker of inflatable space habitats. According to its founder Robert Bigelow, they “could create a depot that could orbit the moon by 2020, housing supplies and medical facilities, as well as humans.” Bigelow pointed out that he is happy that the current US administration is looking to the moon. “Mars is premature at this time. The moon is not,” he said in an interview.
For critics out there, Blue Origin has rocket called the New Shepard, which within less than a year flew “five times past the 62-mile edge of space” and then landed vertically at the company’s West Texas facility. That same type of technology could be used to land a vehicle on the moon and carry up to 10,000 pounds of materials.
This is the first step back to return to the moon that could open the way to colonise other parts of our Solar System. “I think that if you go to the moon first, and make the moon your home, then you can get to Mars more easily,” Bezos said during the recently held Aviation Week awards ceremony.
There is a lot of renewed interested in developing technologies and spacecraft to travel to the moon, like Bezos, I think it is long overdue, we need to get back out there.
Source: The Washington Post
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