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posted by chromas on Friday October 05 2018, @02:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the the-gorgotron-approaches dept.

Jeff Bezos Is Planning to Ship 'Several Metric Tons of Cargo' to the Moon

Blue Origin, described by Bezos as "the most important work I'm doing," signed a letter of intent with German aerospace companies OHB Space Systems and Security and MT Aerospace at the 69th annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Germany on Tuesday. The OHB SE dubbed the lunar project the "Blue Moon" mission in a press release.

It's not clear exactly what cargo the Blue Moon mission would transport, but it likely includes infrastructure designed to start private business on the Moon: The IAC also detailed the launch of the "Moon Race," a competition between Blue Origin, Airbus Air and Space, and other space agencies around the world to develop technology that will bring companies around the world to the Moon.

According to a press release, the competition could involve manufacturing products and technology, manufacturing energy sources for humans to survive, getting access to water and sustaining biological life, such as plant or agricultural life—all on the Moon.

Also at Space.com.

Related: Blue Origin to Compete to Launch U.S. Military Payloads
NASA Administrator Ponders the Fate of SLS in Interview (Blue Origin targets Moon landing by 2023)
SpaceX Reveals Plan to Fly Yusaku Maezawa and Artists "Around the Moon" in a BFR
Blue Origin Wins Contract to Supply United Launch Alliance With BE-4 Rocket Engines


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Friday October 05 2018, @02:39AM (34 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @02:39AM (#744468) Homepage Journal

    That's how long I've been waiting to read of stuff like this. Someone plans to go to the moon - for profit. I watched the first moon landings, with my classmates, sure that people would be landing en masse soon. Finally, a lifetime later, it begins.

    --
    "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @03:02AM (31 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @03:02AM (#744479)

    There is a reason for that, there is a thing about weapons in space and private companies basiscly means that nukes will be in orbit as soon as development of moon bases starts

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by c0lo on Friday October 05 2018, @03:19AM (26 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Friday October 05 2018, @03:19AM (#744487) Journal

      Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org] key points:

      1. it bars states party to the treaty from placing weapons of mass destruction in Earth orbit, installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body, or otherwise stationing them in outer space.
      2. "outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means"
      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Friday October 05 2018, @03:28AM (24 children)

        by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @03:28AM (#744489)

        Note that it only applies to *states*, not private companies though. At the time it was drawn up, nobody imagines it would be feasible for mere companies to get into space...

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by takyon on Friday October 05 2018, @03:37AM (2 children)

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday October 05 2018, @03:37AM (#744492) Journal

          I think we're going to have to wait a little while before we see private companies start blowing each other up over asteroid hauls. Ditto for the space pirates.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @03:23PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @03:23PM (#744646)

            ha. ha ha.
            companies do everything they can to hurt competitors, as long as it's either
            1) legal.
            2) possible to get away with it.

            In space?
            "oops, I'm sorry I dropped this ratchet at exactly the time and place, and with exactly the velocity such that it would hit your space ship. It was an accident."

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06 2018, @09:59AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 06 2018, @09:59AM (#744989)

            What about Ice Pirates?

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Friday October 05 2018, @04:31AM (19 children)

          by c0lo (156) on Friday October 05 2018, @04:31AM (#744502) Journal

          Same linky says:

          Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty deals with international responsibility, stating that "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty" and that States Parties shall bear international responsibility for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities.

          So... not quite "it only applies to *states*, not private companies though.", unless you allow for "incorporated in no-country" situations.

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
          • (Score: 4, Touché) by takyon on Friday October 05 2018, @04:50AM (13 children)

            by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday October 05 2018, @04:50AM (#744508) Journal

            Treaties such as these are only as good as the enforcement mechanism.

            If we see a self-sufficient colony develop on Mars, what's stopping them from stockpiling weapons? How does Earth launch an attack on a Mars, capable of crippling weapons systems, when a colony could see any approach weeks or months in advance?

            At what point does a Mars colony gain its own sovereignty, allowing it to legitimately enter into treaties as it wishes and invalidate treaties signed by Earth nations?

            A Moon colony would be much easier to keep control over since the Moon is easy to reach, easy to monitor, and more desolate. But it wouldn't be impossible for similar problems to arise in the far future.

            --
            [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
            • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday October 05 2018, @05:12AM (8 children)

              by bob_super (1357) on Friday October 05 2018, @05:12AM (#744520)

              Two things that confuse me in this thread:
              - Private companies with nukes ?
              - Colonies that don't instantly collapse if the Earth they secede from stops actively maintaining them ?

              Give that at least a century before it's anywhere near realistic. Space physics make everything human very slow to achieve.

              • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday October 05 2018, @05:26AM (7 children)

                by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday October 05 2018, @05:26AM (#744522) Journal

                A colony could start out as a "company town", but eventually draft its own constitution and become a sovereign nation.

                Missiles could devastate incoming spacecraft. No nukes needed.

                We could get Mars self-sufficient for the basics (food, water, air, meds, building material) much sooner than a century if we wanted to. Reusable rockets are a must. After the basics, you could make a list of things needed to produce effective weapons and launchers, such as aluminum, steel, etc.

                I had a longer response but it got nuked.

                --
                [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
                • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday October 05 2018, @09:19AM (6 children)

                  by c0lo (156) on Friday October 05 2018, @09:19AM (#744559) Journal

                  We could get Mars self-sufficient for the basics (food, water, air, meds, building material) much sooner than a century if we wanted to.

                  You are still ignoring the most restrictive factor for Mars colonization: energy - the controllable kind and plenty.
                  Solve this cheaply and the rest will be easy. If it's expensive, it will be long - you even can't burn dynojuice or coal on Mars as it is now.

                  --
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 05 2018, @10:22AM (5 children)

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @10:22AM (#744568) Journal

                    You are still ignoring the most restrictive factor for Mars colonization: energy - the controllable kind and plenty.

                    Solar works on Mars. I bet we could get fission, geothermal, and (in Martian summer) wind too.

                    • (Score: 1) by Muad'Dave on Friday October 05 2018, @01:29PM (1 child)

                      by Muad'Dave (1413) on Friday October 05 2018, @01:29PM (#744600)

                      Solar works on Mars.

                      Except when there's a month long, planet-wide dust storm [space.com].

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:36AM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:36AM (#744866) Journal
                        It doesn't work as well during those month-long storms. Wind power probably would be a good supplement during those times.
                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @06:17PM (2 children)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @06:17PM (#744744)

                      Mars' core is dead, how would you get geothermal?

                      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @07:29PM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @07:29PM (#744764)

                        He said geothermal, not areothermal; Mars's core has nothing to do with it. There's plenty of heat differential to be tapped between Earth's surface and Earth's mantle, all you need is some really long and bendy heat-pipes to reach them from Mars.

                      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:36AM

                        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:36AM (#744865) Journal
                        Heat differential between Mars's surface and deeper down. The core is frozen solid, but it still has considerable heat.
            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday October 05 2018, @06:21AM

              by c0lo (156) on Friday October 05 2018, @06:21AM (#744530) Journal

              If we see a self-sufficient colony develop on Mars, what's stopping them from stockpiling weapons?

              We won't actually see one, not in our lifetime.

              But let's extrapolate. After they are self-sufficient, the problem is who has control over them?
              If, on top of self-sufficient, they can be independent (i.e. reasonable defend themselves), they'll not give a fuck about the treaties and will declare their independence. Then, it will be up to them if they'll sign or not the treaty.

              If they cannot be independent, it all depends on what control the states/govts on Earth have over the controlling entity.

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
            • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday October 05 2018, @02:04PM

              by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday October 05 2018, @02:04PM (#744607) Journal

              I would. A lot of people would. Freedom and independence are innate compulsions. People strike out on their own because they feel stifled by orthodoxy where they are. Frontiers are hard, and many people die trying to tame them. The soft don't survive. But the allure, the promise of doing everything the way they want to do them, outweighs the risks.

              Mars and the rest of the solar system will probably be like that. Mars I could see becoming fabulously wealthy based on their proximity to all the resources of the asteroid belt, and as a way station for activities in the outer solar system.

              --
              Washington DC delenda est.
            • (Score: 2) by mrchew1982 on Friday October 05 2018, @04:44PM (1 child)

              by mrchew1982 (3565) on Friday October 05 2018, @04:44PM (#744687)

              Much more likely for people to colonize Antarctica, at least it has plenty of air!

          • (Score: 2) by zocalo on Friday October 05 2018, @11:53AM

            by zocalo (302) on Friday October 05 2018, @11:53AM (#744583)

            unless you allow for "incorporated in no-country" situations.

            Or incorporation in a state that isn't a signatory to the treaty, perhaps - the space age equivalent of a nautical flag of convenience. There are almost certainly at least a few non-signatories or countries that are yet to ratify the treaty that would seriously consider allowing a company to incorporate there in return for some financial considerations. Some of them might even be able to make some prime equatorial launch real estate available for the building of the spaceport too, come to that, which would probably be necessary in order to avoid getting blocked by trying to launch from a country that was a signatory.

            --
            UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday October 05 2018, @03:19PM (3 children)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @03:19PM (#744642) Homepage Journal

            How long do you suppose that any earth bound nation-state will be able to apply any force way out there? I give it two to five generations, tops. Fifty to a hundred twenty five years. How many generations of English lived on the American continent, before they rebelled? The same sort of people will be leaving earth to live in space. They'll all have entries in their personnel files, "Does not play well with others." "Resents authority." "Religious nut." "Batshit crazy." "Bugfuck insane."

            --
            "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday October 05 2018, @05:17PM (2 children)

              by c0lo (156) on Friday October 05 2018, @05:17PM (#744703) Journal

              How long do you suppose that any earth bound nation-state will be able to apply any force way out there?

              Out there? Why?
              Since the Earth bound nation is responsible for what their minions are doing in space, you apply pressure on that nation.

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
              • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:38AM (1 child)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:38AM (#744868) Homepage Journal

                You're thinking short term and medium term. Long term. Like - more than a generation after people leave earth.

                --
                "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
                • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:41AM

                  by c0lo (156) on Saturday October 06 2018, @12:41AM (#744872) Journal

                  Long term, they don't need nukes. "Landing" asteroids on Earth is good enough.

                  --
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday October 05 2018, @03:13PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @03:13PM (#744639) Homepage Journal

          Heinlein foresaw that, as did several other authors. There is no end to the wealthy individuals, and/or corporate interests in SF. The CoDominion among others lacked the personnel to do much more than guard it's outposts. Many of the planets were settled by civilian interests, with more colonists being forcefully exported from earth all the time. Once the Dominion Navy kicked the "settler's" asses off the ships, they were on their own.

          Among others, David Drake has planets run by religious entities. That's pretty lucrative for a mercenary. When two sects start warring about the proper color to wear at Easter time, real gun hands come into high demand.

          --
          "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 05 2018, @10:32AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @10:32AM (#744570) Journal
        And 3. Anyone can withdraw from the treaty without consequence. They just need to give a year's warning.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @06:52AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @06:52AM (#744536)

      Weapons in space to not make a lot of sense:
      1. Fragile
      2. Unmaintainable
      3. Everyone knows exactly where they are
      4. RE: The moon, any weapon launched from the moon, besides being insanely expensive would take at best a day to reach Earth
      5. Easily defended against

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by deimtee on Friday October 05 2018, @11:00AM

        by deimtee (3272) on Friday October 05 2018, @11:00AM (#744578) Journal

        Debatable on 1. Wrong on 2, 3, 4, 5.
        You need to read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein, He got the computers wrong, but the kinetic weapons stuff is spot on.*

        *as expected really. Mike was a massive extrapolation of 1960's mainframes. The kinetic weapons are just physics.
         

        --
        No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday October 05 2018, @03:29PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @03:29PM (#744647) Homepage Journal

        What deimtee says. The Lunies or the Belters toss a bunch of rocks at us. We all realize that there are more rocks up there, than there are nuclear weapons down here, right? In fact, there are more rocks up there, than we have weapons - full stop. Rocks in space are infinite, weapons on earth are finite. Those rocks don't need to reach earth quickly. It doesn't matter if it takes six months for a rock to reach earth, after being nudged in this direction. How ya gonna defend against hundreds, thousands, or even millions of inbound rocks? And, remember, the rocks are fire and forget. No one has to drive a rock, or babysit it, or even keep an eye on it.

        Your "insane expensive" may be applicable right now, today. Three generations in the future? Rail guns aren't really all that expensive.

        Once there are enough people in space to declare themselves a nation, it's Katy bar the door for any earth nations trying to impose their will on the spacers. Vacuum jockeys will have almost all the advantage, aside from monetary wealth. And, realize, it doesn't take money to kill people, or to kill cities. Just a bunch of rocks, a bunch of solar panels, and a good rail gun.

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday October 05 2018, @10:20AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 05 2018, @10:20AM (#744566) Journal

      There is a reason for that, there is a thing about weapons in space and private companies basiscly means that nukes will be in orbit as soon as development of moon bases starts

      Unless, of course, that doesn't happen.

  • (Score: 2) by realDonaldTrump on Friday October 05 2018, @04:48AM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Friday October 05 2018, @04:48AM (#744507) Homepage Journal

    Our Space industry was forgotten for a long time. The rockets and everything else. Well, it's forgotten no more. We are going to have the Space Force. That one's coming in 2020. We couldn't get the money for this year, you'd be amazed how hard it is to get the money from Congress. That's like a full-time job. But trust me, we'll get it for 2020. Lot of money for Space Force. We're going to be having the best equipment ever known. And it's going to be tremendous for our workers. A lot of jobs, believe me. We weren't supposed to add manufacturing jobs, nobody thought we could do that. We've added 600,000. In less than two years. Something nobody expected. And if you asked me I would have said a much smaller number. Incredible!!!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @04:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05 2018, @04:28PM (#744676)

    Your key phrase "for profit ". Basically you've been waiting for capitalism which achieves nothing unless it can squeeze out a profit. You've also been waiting for trillion dollar companies which can drop a billion without sweating. Finally, you've been waiting for technology to make the whole endeavor cheaper/safer than it was 50 years ago.