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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: 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...

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  • (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.

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    [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.

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      • (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.

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          • (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