Jeff Bezos just unveiled a giant lunar lander that he says is 'going to the moon'

SAUL LOEB / Getty ImagesJeff Bezos unveils Blue Moon.

WASHINGTON, DC – Jeff Bezos just unveiled a giant lunar-landing vehicle created by his rocket company Blue Origin.

Called “Blue Moon,” the lander is designed to deliver a variety of sizes and types of payloads to the moon’s surface, with the eventual goal of establishing what the company calls a “sustained human presence” on the moon.

“This is an incredible vehicle, and it’s going to the moon,” Bezos said at an event in Washington, DC on Thursday afternoon.

Blue Origin had been teasing the idea of a lunar lander called Blue Moon over the past two years. The company has already received millions of dollars in grants from NASA to develop critical lunar-lander systems.

The model of the Blue Moon lander that Bezos revealed today is the version designed to carry robotic and infrastructure payloads to the moon. Bezos said payloads could weigh up to 7 tons (6.5 metric tonnes). But according to the company’s website, “the larger variant of Blue Moon has been designed to land an ascent vehicle that will allow us to return Americans to the moon by 2024.” A vehicle designed for people was not shown at the event, however.

With this new announcement, Bezos is likely angling to get NASA’s attention. The space agency recently updated its space-exploration plans at the behest of Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump. NASA originally hoped to test a moon lander in 2024, then try for crewed landings in 2028; but now the agency is attempting to attract private industry to design and build a spacecraft to land astronauts on the moon in 2024.

This is a developing story – check back for updates.

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