Meet Blue Moon: Blue Origin’s Lunar Lander | SciShow News

Meet Blue Moon: Blue Origin’s Lunar Lander | SciShow News

[♪ INTRO] From the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of
Apollo eleven to Israel’s attempt at a lunar landing,
the Moon has been in the news a lot lately! And one announcement that’s gotten a lot
of attention is NASA’s new challenge from the White House: return American astronauts
to the lunar surface by 2024. It’s a big goal, considering how much time,
effort, and equipment it takes to send people to space, but last week, one
company stepped up to offer some help. And in the process, they
made their own huge announcement. At a fancy press event, Blue Origin revealed
that they’ve quietly been developing a lunar lander called Blue Moon, and they
gave us our first good look at it. If you’ve heard of Blue Origin before, it’s
probably because the company was founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Or maybe you’ve heard about their reusable,
suborbital rockets, dubbed New Shepard. Either way, the company has been making big
strides in the last few years. But with Blue Moon, they’re venturing into
new territory. Because until now, Blue Origin’s most famous
work has focused on suborbital launches, that is, those that go
to space but don’t orbit the Earth. And none of them have been crewed. At this point, their new lander is primarily
designed to deliver cargo, but it can also be modified to accommodate
astronauts, supposedly by 2024, which would really help out NASA. Last week, Bezos announced that their intent is to send a mission to Shackleton Crater
at the Moon’s south pole. It isn’t totally clear when that will happen,
but as far as destinations go, Shackleton Crater might be considered prime
lunar real estate. Outside the crater, it’s almost always daylight,
which means that you could get the most out of any solar panels
you brought along. Meanwhile, the inside of the crater almost
never sees the Sun, so we’re pretty sure it’s full of water ice. That’s great for drinking purposes, but
it’s also important because missions could use electricity to break the water molecules apart into oxygen
and hydrogen gas. The oxygen gets you something to breathe, but together with the hydrogen,
it also gives you power. Hydrogen is a great fuel source, and you can
use oxygen to make it combust. Right now, the idea is that Blue Moon would
take several trips to the lunar surface to prepare for the astronauts and deliver
supplies, a few thousand kilograms at a time. Then, humans would make the journey. But even though their
announcement was super exciting, Blue Origin has a lot of work to do before
they’re ready to go. Like, for one, they have to test a new engine. To land Blue Moon, the company’s engineers
have designed what they’re calling the BE-7 engine, which uses liquid hydrogen
and oxygen. Its first hotfire test is scheduled for this summer, and that’s where they’ll make sure all
the electrical components work and the fuel explodes in a planned, controlled
manner. Still, even if that goes a hundred percent
according to plan, there’s no news yet about when its first
test launch will be. And that’s just for the lander. Blue Origin
also has to build a totally new rocket, since New Shepard is only capable of reaching
suborbital altitudes. Their new vehicle will be called New Glenn, and although it’s still in the design phase,
it will supposedly enter service in 2021. Assuming it works, New Glenn will serve as
competition against SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and NASA’s future
Space Launch System, both of which could also carry people to the Moon. So whatever gets us there, and however long
it takes us, it looks like we’re finally headed back
to the lunar surface. Well, at least as far as humans go. Robots are already on the Moon, including
China’s lander Chang’e-4. And according to a paper published this week
in the journal Nature, it’s helping us figure out what the Moon
is made of. Spoilers! It’s still not cheese. Like the Earth’s interior, the Moon has
layers: a crust, a mantle, and a core. Basically, when it was
super young and still molten, denser material sank toward the center, and
lighter stuff rose to the surface. So far, we know that most of the lunar crust
is made of a mineral called plagioclase. And based on what they’ve seen of the Moon’s
ancient lava flows, scientists think the mantle likely contains
so-called mafic minerals, those rich in things like iron and magnesium. Still, it’s hard to be totally sure what
those mafic minerals are, because, well, it’s kind of hard getting to the lunar mantle. It doesn’t start until you’re tens of
kilometers below the surface, and we don’t have any probes on the Moon
that can drill that far down. So scientists have mostly had to make due
hunting for rocks on the surface that somehow made their way up from the mantle. The ideal locations for this kind of work
are large, deep impact craters, where huge collisions could have blasted up
underground rock. And that’s where Chang’e-4 comes in. This January, it and its rover, Yutu-2, landed
in one of those craters. Specifically, Von Kármán crater, which is
located in the enormous South Pole-Aitken basin on the Moon’s far
side. For the record, that basin also contains Shackleton
Crater. Lunar orbiters had detected minerals in the
basin that could have possibly come from the mantle, but we needed some kind of
eyes on the ground to check if it was true. For the last five months, Yutu-2 has been
collecting the light signature of the surrounding rocks to figure out what elements they’re made
of, and in what abundances. And in this new paper, scientists confirmed
that this area is rich in mafic minerals! The researchers think that these minerals
didn’t actually come from Von Kármán, though, since it was flooded a long time ago
by volcanic basalt. Instead, they think they sprinkled down from
the impact that created the Finsen crater, which is much younger and located nearby. Still, no matter which crater they came from, the minerals Yutu-2 found are a lot different
than the typical stuff we see on the lunar surface. They’re made of minerals called olivine
and low-calcium (ortho)pyroxene, which scientists have assumed were in the
lunar mantle for a long time. Unfortunately, even if the evidence is promising, it’s too soon to tell if these rocks actually
come from the mantle and not just the lower crust. But as Yutu-2 keeps working, we’ll probably
get an update. Studies like this are a great reminder that we haven’t learned everything there is to
know about the Moon, which makes it really exciting to think about
the future. Because if we’re still learning so much
from robotic missions, just imagine what we’ll figure out when
we send human scientists there! Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow
Space News! If you want to keep up with the latest news
in astronomy and in the space industry, you can go to and
subscribe. We make a new episode like this every Friday! [♪ OUTRO]


100 thoughts on “Meet Blue Moon: Blue Origin’s Lunar Lander | SciShow News”

  • spoilers:

    is not going to happen we and nasa are just going to be trolled again by usa government and their stupidity and super low budget that gets smaller and smaller every damn year! just give nasa the 10% of the petagon and army budget and then we talk.

  • audiofunkdialect says:

    I can’t stand Jeff Bezos so I’m not really excited by Blue Origin. Whoever can harness asteroids for mining will be huge. Imagine if we could stop mining the earth which is terrible for the environment.

  • Maludir Corona says:

    Ni cheese on the moon!? That's unbelievable! I demand proof! Send me there I only believe you when I've seen it 😜

  • YouPlantTube says:

    Going to the moon by 2024, Why take the long way?
    Apollo 11 can get there in 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes.

  • Gara Von Hoiwkenzoiber says:

    Everything has so much bloatware these days I honestly think it'll be harder to get to the moon in 2024 than it was in the 60's when everything was so limited for space/weight

  • batmanfanforever08 says:

    I am so happy we're going back to the Moon. This will be my Apollo. I can't wait for tourist trips to the Moon. I can't wait for the Moon to become a tourist destination and a place to take vacations. Selfies on the Moon!!! lol

  • And what on the moon will they be shipping back to earth? Moon rocks as souvenirs?
    Do they expect to make a profit? You can't tell the difference between moon rocks and earth rocks. All the planets are made of the same elements. To ship anything from the moon to the earth in even tiny quantities costs billions of dollars. Their business model seems to have a major flaw.

  • Raimo Kangasniemi says:

    Months ago Lockheed came up with a massive, reusable manned lunar lander that could stay on the surface for two weeks. For 'some reason' it didn't get as much publicity as Bezos' much smaller lunar lander which would fly early missions unmanned…

  • animefreak5757 says:

    you get less energy from hydrogen and oxygen then you get from splitting them apart from water. It's not useful as a power source, it's useful as a power storage mechanism and for rocket fuel. The electricity from solar panels can't be used to propel rockets from within a gravity well (currently at least), any thrust engine design we have now is simply too weak.

  • Tess Murdock says:

    Yes, given we have not been on the moon yet, it is a huge challenge. What a shame; all the fakery we have been exposed to all these years!

  • Isaid Romero Gaviño says:

    Very impressed by China's PR capabilities in here, Kind of out of Star-Wars or something alike.
    Yutu-2 and Chang'e are some pretty good mission names!

  • The U.S. is over 22 trillion dollars in debt. Our government can't afford health care, or affordable education, but we can afford BS Trip's.

  • Fred Flintstone says:

    Competition is great for booming industry. However, in this particular situation, why don't they collaborate… put blue moon on a falcon heavy, and we'll do in a month what all the governments horses and all the governments men couldn't put back together again for 50 years.

  • Numberjack Fiutro says:

    Eureka, now we're probably not too far from having whole research stations and resorts on the Moon! Future lunarians will be so proud! 🔬🏩🏨🌖🌕

  • Maybe theyll actually get there this time ha ha. Jist kidding, itll be photoshopped 😊 greenscreen. The ship could have been more Enterprise/milenial falkon like…come on guys. I mean there is already a Tesla out there. I vote for lost in space style Jupiter 2.

  • If NASA could put men on the moon in 1969 within a decade of JFK's challenge, why shouldn't we be able to do it in within 5 years by 2024? It's not a question of technical capability, just the political and financial will.

  • Wow. Videos like this turn me off to science. They talk like they got it figured out, but by the last 30 yrs of failed promises and bunk science. They do this to steal from our pockets for their research. I wish they would just speak to us like investors rather than 8 graders. Some of us understand math, physics and chemistry; we would LOVE to hear more then just platitudes with excitment.

    Do not need manned mission to send an inexpensive drone to the sites.

  • Robert Evans says:

    What an idiotic waste of time, effort and resources. The Orange Idiot-in-Chief is just trying to get a bit of fame like JFK but there is no real benefit to the US of A or the world. Spend time, effort and resources on exploring the oceans of the planet. The spin-off tech and the new resources would be huge and less expensive to get.

  • Norman Mattson says:

    It took China to reignite the space race. Maybe we can divert a few billion to exploration instead of to the merchants of death.

  • Krzysztof Jarzyna says:

    I love SciShow but I just can't stand her voice. This enthusiasm is so fake and iritaiting I just can't watch it for longer than 15 seconds

  • Gera Roginskii says:

    Saying return somewhere means that there should has been some arrival in the first place – not this case.

  • Falcon Heavy technically cannot go to the moon with humans with current plans since there’s no plan to human rate it anymore.

  • This isn't innovation, this is overreacting to something we already did back in 1969. Land on the moon. China has released more information with Change e' and the moon than NASA has during their entire commission. You don't have my support.

  • I highly doubt amazon will be delivering any thing to the moon in 4.5 years. They have yet to orbit the earth. Their rocket still has training wheels on it.

  • "Sexist" President Trump wants to land 1st WOMAN on the moon before the end of his 2nd term. He also asked Congress for an additional 1.5 billion to fund NASA… Remember Obama? He ended the space shuttle program and cut funding to NASA. Luckily Trump is in office and we are gonna MAKE SPACE GREAT AGAIN.

  • Desmond Ellis says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it. In other words,I’ll never believe it! Sorry to sound so cynical, but growing up in the seventies, I saw the space program defunded because it’s more important to kill people and bomb cities than it is to benefit humans. And that still seems to be the rule

  • 🤔 Wouldn't fuel exploding in a planned controlled manner be a bomb? I think technically its combustion 🔥

  • RyanWake bradtelle says:

    What happened to all of nasa, can't they just build like 5 space shuttles and have a permanent base by 2022

  • Manuel Pirino says:

    anyone can tell me if the messy Oort Cloud we have in our solar system (and the K-belt of course) is a common feature of other planets?

  • Marciel Luta says:

    I have hear the liars nasa want to back of moon next year, but they have to tell us they never hasn't landing there before 😂😄😆 !

  • Jeremy Smith says:

    We all know that the Trump admin only gave NASA this near-impossible-with-current-funding-challenge to set the stage for future complete corporate dismantling and takeover, right?

  • Good luck getting through the Van Allen Belt (look up what us needed to get through it) and perhaps we can use the data from the original mission? Sorry, nasa admits that they erased all the telemetry data from the greatest achievment in human history. Oh, and just make sure that the rocks brought back this time aren't petrified wood to give to foriegn dignitaries. Good times!

  • Trump wants a pointless mission with limited funding … can't imagine what his goal is. There is currently little reason for a moon base since, last I checked/heard, we still don't think there is a useful amount of water on the moon, and robots will be used to figure that out. Orbiting space stations would be way better than bases because docked ships wouldn't require (as much) fuel to go to and from.

    Not to mention do we really want NASA to associate itself with a company known shady such practices.

  • Finally, we're going on the moon for the first time,
    to place a convincing replica of Apollo 11.
    and remove the bodies of any death astronaut of course.

  • Jorge Stolfi says:

    The energy one gets from burning H2 and O2 is less than what was used to make them. The H2 and O2 may be a way to store energy for emergencies or rocket propulsion.

  • This sounds as plausible as anything Elon Musk has ever proposed… which is to say, don't hold your breath.

  • This woman has the most annoying voice/delivery on YT. If you have to listen, slow the speed down. That said, take particular note of the issues around craters. They are not from collision but electricity.

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