US President Barak Obama has signed new legislation as part of the “US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act” allowing Moon Express to mine, harvest and own lunar resources. The bill in effect transfers the rights already in place for NASA and astronauts to the US private sector allowing realization of the long term potential of space materials and markets.
Moon Express is a commercial space exploration company headed by CEO Bob Richards.According to Richards Moon Express will seek to mine both minerals and water from ice from the moon. Another company, Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company, lauded the new bill as another step in the quest to create new markets to supply both the earth and possibly the mission to Mars.
Moon Express has been testing it lunar lander vehicle at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and won Google’s Lunar XPRIZE and $1 million for being the first private company to flight-test a lander.