Why does Jeff Bezos’s rocket look like that? An inquiry

Experts weigh in on the ‘anthropomorphic’ design of New Shepard, the Amazon CEO’s Blue Origin rocket

Jeff Bezos’s 11-minute trip aboard a Blue Origin rocket to the edge of space on Tuesday left the world’s richest man feeling “unbelievably good” and his crew “very happy”. But afterwards, as he wondered aloud how fast he could refuel, the rest of the world was left pondering just why the New Shepard rocket had such a distinctive shape.

As social media erupted with innuendo, we contacted a few experts to find out why it looked, in the words of one astrophysicist, so “anthropomorphic”. At one major research institution, the press officer referred us to the gender studies department, but Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, was able to shed some light on the topic.

Continue reading...