So far, a moon landing has been accomplished only by three nations. The United States’ Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon, on July 20, 1969.
Subsequently, only two counties successfully landed spacecraft on the moon: Russia and China. But no private company has ever been given permission for a moon landing.
But now, a US company has been given government permission by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to land on the moon.
The Florida-based company, “Moon Express,” plans to send a small unmanned lander called MX-1. The company hopes to send the robotic spacecraft to the moon next year. The robotic lander will be sent to the moon on the top of a rocket that they are purchasing from space startup Rocketlab.
Naveen Jain, Co-founder and Chairman of the Moon Express, says, “Only three super powers have ever landed on any planet—we will become the fourth superpower.”
Water is the oil of the solar system, and the moon has become a gas station in the sky
Moon Express CEO Bob Richards referred to the recent discovery of water on the moon by the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft with ISRO’s Moon Impact Probe (MIP) and NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) as being highly important.
Mission can win Google Lunar X-Prize of $20 million
Moon Express can win the prize if MX-1 successfully lands on the moon, takes off again, lands more than 1,500 feet away from its earlier position and sends high-definition video and images back to Earth.
But winning the prize is not the only point; the bigger plan is to discover valuable natural materials that can be used on Earth.
The total estimated cost of the mission is about $55 million. Moon Express has already raised $30 million.