Blue Origin shared a cryptic photo on Twitter on Friday, April 26. It was the picture of famed explorer Ernest Shackleton's ship, Endurance, with the caption "5.9.19."
Blue Origin is a private space company founded by Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO.
With nothing but an image of Shackleton's ship and a date in the tweet, people were instantly manufacturing theories by making do with the given clues.
The tweet suggests that the image could be part of Bezos' update with Blue Origin on the Satellite 2019 conference, which will be held in Washington DC.
5.9.19 pic.twitter.com/BzvwCsDM2T — Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 26, 2019
Many also speculate that the tweet could be about Blue Origin's plan to send astronauts back on the moon. There is a crater on the moon named Shackleton Crater, a potential lunar outpost according to NASA. It is located at the moon's south pole and is believed to have plenty of deposits of frozen water.
NASA calls the water deposits water ice, and it's said to be a major factor if people are to be sent again on the lunar surface. It's also no big secret that Bezos thinks it's essential for another lunar expedition with the goal of settling there permanently.
In a podcast with GeekWire last May, Bezos has mentioned the possibility of lunar settlement.
"We know that there's water there. There's ice there. There are probably other interesting things in those craters as well," says Bezos.
"And then we also know that on the rims of the craters at the poles of the moon, there are places where you have almost perpetual sunlight."
"Literally there are some peaks where you only have about 10 hours of darkness per year, and those perpetual peaks of light are conveniently located right next to the perpetual dark areas where all these interesting volatiles reside. So it's almost like somebody set this up for us," he added.
To achieve the expedition, Blue Origin is working on a lander that can carry as much as 5 metric tons of cargo to the moon. The executives of the space venture have said that the lander can be in full operation by 2023, just in time for NASA's plan to send astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2024.
The expedition is in relation to NASA's Advanced Cislunar and Surface Capabilities (ACSC) program. According to the program, NASA will award contracts worth billions of dollars to private space companies for them to manufacture all sorts of spacecraft capable of sending humans to and from the moon.
Some say that whether the speculations are true or not, the possibility of Blue Origin facilitating a permanent lunar settlement expedition is quite a bit of an ambition, much like what happened to the Shackleton journey.
The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was known for its failure to complete their goal to cross the Antarctic continent from one coast to the other via the South Pole. After months of being adrift in the Antarctic ocean, the ship was crushed by the ice of Wendell Sea, leading to its sinking.
However, Shackleton and 27 of the Endurance's crewmates managed to survive after journeying hundreds of miles until they were rescued in 1916.