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Blue Origin's cryptic tweet hints at a new adventure

Jeff Bezos and his rocket company have an odd way of building anticipation.

Jeff Bezos' rocket company is up to something next month. Blue Origin on Friday posted a quizzical tweet with nothing more than the date May 9, 2019, and an image of Ernest Shackleton's ship, Endurance.

Endurance was the ship that launched in 1914, embarking on an epic trans-Antarctic expedition. What it has to do with Blue Origin's work to compete with the likes of other commercial space companies such as Elon Musk's SpaceX is unclear. 

Blue Origin didn't immediately respond to my request for comment. 

Bezos has spoken about wanting Blue Origin to land and get a base going on the moon. There is a Shackleton crater near the moon's south pole. Perhaps that's part of a plan that'll be announced next month?

So far, though, Blue Origin has only been performing sub-orbital launches with its New Shepard vehicle. The moon seems pretty far off at this point.

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One thing Blue Origin might be ready to show us soon is the first New Shepard flight with a human passenger on board. This would be a big coup for the company, which famously landed a rocket before SpaceX managed it for the first time. Bezos would probably love to beat Musk to the punch again. (Although, to be fair, landing a larger orbital rocket like a Falcon 9 is arguably much more difficult.)

Whatever new adventure Blue Origin is embarking on, hopefully it doesn't end up like the Endurance, which was wrecked on that fateful Antarctic journey.