Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin caused some rare excitement in aerospace circles when he announced a new concept for a lunar lander called Blue Moon. Details are still scanty, but a picture was recently attached to the name during a presentation at the Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs, Co. The Blue Moon lander has a box-like module on top and four landing legs on the bottom. It has external fuel tanks and the familiar quill logo on its side, according to Geek Wire.

Blue Moon would take payloads to the lunar surface

Blue Moon is designed to carry cargo to the Lunar Surface.

It would fly on the heavy lift Space Launch System or any number of commercial rockets, including United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V or Blue Origin’s New Glenn, planned for a 2020 debut. The technology for Blue Moon is based on the same systems that allow the suborbital New Shepard to take off and land.

How Blue Moon would be financed

Bezos is willing to put his own money in the development of Blue Moon, but he is keen to do so in partnership with NASA, similar to the arrangement made with companies in the commercial crew program developing spacecraft to take cargo and astronauts to and from the moon. Blue Moon would send robots and other payloads to the lunar surface to prospect for resources and to build a lunar base.

NASA could be returning to the moon

NASA’s future space direction is in a state of flux. Since 2010 the space agency has been focused on the Journey to Mars program, as mandated by President Barack Obama. But President Donald Trump is reported to be interested in a return to the moon as part of NASA’s long-term space plans. The moon can be done sooner, it can attract both commercial and international partners, and has a lot of short-term benefits available.

The commercial sector steps up for a return to the moon

The prospect of a return to the moon has caused far more excitement than Obama’s Mars program ever did. A number of other commercial companies have stepped forward with proposals, some to be in partnership with NASA, others on their own dime. SpaceX has proposed sending two paying tourists around the moon in 2018.

The Google Lunar XPrize is scheduled to launch several private expeditions to the moon, with a number of contestants, including Moon Express, developing lunar businesses. The change in administrations seem to have brought in new, fresh thinking about America’s future direction in space, with attended anticipation of productive things to happen in the near future.