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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While there may not be money in harvesting resources from the Moon yet, Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin is playing the long game, developing its capabilities in preparation for the day that could pay off.

The big picture: In the short term, the company wants to help NASA get astronauts back to the Moon. In the long term, Blue Origin hopes to bring about a future where millions of people are living and working in space, sustained, at least in part, by harvesting resources from the Moon.

"It's this generation's responsibility to go build the infrastructure around getting to orbit, getting into space cheaply and reliably."
— Bob Smith, CEO of Blue Origin to Axios

Yes, but: It's difficult to build a business around mining resources from the Moon without properly characterizing what is there. Blue Origin is working with a team of science advisers to figure out what sites on the surface might be most attractive for these kinds of operations, Smith said.

Blue Origin's next step toward bringing about Bezos' vision of the future hinges on the company's Blue Moon lander, which has been in development for about 3 years.

  • The lander could bring cargo and eventually people down to the lunar surface.
  • One day Blue Origin also hopes to use water harvested from the Moon to make propellant that would fuel Blue Moon.
  • "It's really central to what we're about at Blue Origin, that we get to the point where we can utilize lunar resources for developments in space," Smith said.

Details: In 2023, the company hopes to send a cargo lander to the surface of the Moon.

  • "We'd follow that up in our proposal with two flights," Smith said. "One would be an integrated lander that's uncrewed in '24 and then by the end of '24, putting a crewed mission on the surface."
  • Both of those missions could fly to the surface from the Gateway — the small space station NASA plans to build in orbit.
  • Smith says that this timeline is dependent on NASA's support.

NASA is hoping to partner with private industry to get astronauts back to the Moon's surface by 2024 as part of its Artemis program, so Blue Origin is looking to capitalize on that effort.

But it's not just about NASA. According to Smith, multiple companies, universities and other space agencies have also approached Blue Origin looking to capitalize on its Blue Moon system.

  • These kinds of partnerships are key for Blue Origin and any other spaceflight company looking to turn a profit.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Cuomo: "No way I resign" after sexual harassment accusations

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was defiant on Sunday, stating again that he would not resign even as more former aides have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The big picture: Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment allegations against him and said that he "never inappropriately touched anybody." He acknowledged in a statement that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Some of the calls for Cuomo to resign have come from within the Democratic party.

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.