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It will soft-land in a precise way 3.6 metric tons onto the lunar surface.

It is supported by four legs, with an upper deck where equipment can be fixed.

Bezos said he liked Vice President Mike Pence's challenge to send someone to the moon by 2024 because, "we can help meet that timeline but only because we started three years ago".

NASA said in April that it wants to fund a large, private lunar lander to get its astronauts to and from the moon, ideally as soon as 2024. Water can be exploited to produce hydrogen, which in turn could fuel future exploration of the solar system. Having attended the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on its final two missions, STS-131, and STS-133, he began to do more social networking on space and that developed into writing more in-depth articles.

If there is enough water ice on the surface, it could be mined and used for rocket fuel - making it easier to explore and stay on the moon, according to experts.

Not the components of the future mini-station in lunar orbit, which will act as a rest stop between Earth and the Moon. Bezos will retain control of Blue Origin after his divorce this year. The engine will be available for sale to other companies for use in in-space and lander applications. Bezos also owns the Washington Post, which Trump has frequently targeted in his broadsides about "fake news".

Bezos also talked about his futuristic visions of humanity living in giant space colonies modeled after physicist Gerard O'Neill's designs for massive cylinders that could house human settlers by spinning to provide gravity.

In the short term, that includes a lunar lander, Blue Moon, a sleek vehicle that became visible as a curtain in front was pulled away. My generation's job is to build the infrastructure so they will be able to.

"We are going to build a road to space", Bezos said.

And Blue origin aims to do the same, with a massive heavy-lift rocket called New Glenn (named for astronaut and later senator John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth). The company is aiming to deliver its New Glenn rocket by 2021, while launching humans in a suborbital flight later this year atop its rocket-and-capsule New Shepard. The company had a successful launch earlier this month, reusing one of its New Shepard rockets, which barely goes to the edge of space, for a fifth time.