Amazon.com and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos will need all the water ice on the Moon he can get his hands on if his dream of using the Moon as a base to explore other planets in our solar system is to come to pass.

Water ice is plentiful on the Moon. It’s found mostly at the bottom of craters near the Moon’s colder North and South Poles. NASA has said it intends to establish its first manned Moon base near the South Pole where water ice is more abundant.

“We know things about the moon now we didn’t know about during the Apollo days,” said Bezos at the JFK Space Summit in Boston, Massachusetts.

He said one of the things learned since the Apollo program that landed Americans on the Moon is that there are deposits of water ice at the bottom of craters on the moon.

“We can harvest that ice and use to make hydrogen and oxygen, which are rocket propellants,” he noted.

Bezos said Blue Moon is powered by a BE-7 liquid hydrogen engine, which uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen as its fuel.

“The reason we chose those propellants is because … we know one day we’ll be refueling that vehicle on the surface of the moon from propellants made on the surface of the moon from that water ice,” he pointed out.

The presence of water ice on the Moon was confirmed in August 2018 by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument aboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon. More specifically, the instrument verified the presence of water ice on the ground around the lunar north and south poles.

Electric power stations powered by solar panels or a nuclear generator will split the water ice into hydrogen and oxygen gas. When recombined in a rocket engine and ignited, both gases will explode, releasing the energy needed to power Blue Moon, the huge lunar lander to be built by Blue Origin.

BE-7 is a new hydrolox engine also versatile enough to be used for other applications. As a rocket engine, it can deliver a thrust of 40 kN.

Bezos described Blue Moon as “a very large lander” that can soft land 3.6 metric tons on the lunar surface. Stretch variants of Blue Moon can land 6.5 metric tons.

Bezos also claims Blue Moon can transport a large variety of payloads, including four of Blue Origin’s small lunar rovers.