Bring back the blue!
Bring Back the Blue
Blue Origin just unveiled the latest design for its NASA Moon lander — and we can't help but feel it's a visual downgrade over the flashy renders the company originally showed off back in 2019.
In social media posts last week, NASA administrator Bill Nelson and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos showed off its newest mockup, named the Blue Moon Mark 1, a shiny, towering construction that looks remarkably different than the company's original vision.
Impressive visit to the @blueorigin Huntsville Engine Production Facility! @NASA is proud to partner with Blue Origin, especially on the Blue Moon human landing system, which will help ensure a steady cadence of astronauts on the Moon to live and work before we venture to Mars. pic.twitter.com/7AxwtLuHw4
— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) October 27, 2023
To be clear, the aforementioned craft that the two men are standing in front of is not going to fly into space and we still don't know what the final product will actually end up looking like.
As Ars Technica acknowledges, it's merely a mockup, but compared to earlier potential versions of the lander — and especially the first Blue Moon module design that was introduced in 2019 — this white and gold monstrosity leaves much to be desired.
Though those original designs certainly looked a lot sexier per our tastes over here at Futurism, they apparently didn't impress NASA much.
In 2021, the agency controversially passed over Blue Origin to award Elon Musk's SpaceX an exclusive and highly-coveted contract to build a Human Landing System vehicle for an upcoming mission to the Moon. Unsurprisingly, this debacle led to something of a feud between the two billionaires.
Along with being royally pissed off, Bezos also raised a huge legal stink, but it still took more than 18 months for NASA to formally award Blue Origin a consolation contract for a second HLS vehicle in May 2023 — and even the mockup from back then arguably looks better than Bezos showed off last week.
Building a Moon lander is, we're sure, difficult work, and crafting a mockup from concept art to completion in less than six months is an even greater feat. And that's not to mention going from a mockup to the real thing.
All the same, it seems like mighty good luck that Blue Origin will have until at least the end of this decade to perfect its Blue Moon lander because, by the looks of the model it showed off to NASA last week, it's definitely not space-ready yet.
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