The folks at private space firm Moon Express, which eventually hopes to mine the moon, has found a rocket to get its lander to the lunar surface. First step exploration, next step colonization.
The company has some ambitious goals, and sees the moon as an untapped continent for human settlement, loaded with expansive real estate and juicy new minerals to mine. The first step: Sending the company’s MX-1E micro-lander to the moon, strapped to the experimental Electron rocket, manufactured by Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab. Moon Express has been vying for Google’s Lunar X Prize, which is basically a space race to land a private rover on the moon, and is now set to launch in 2017.
This is a huge step forward for private space exploration, and also shows that contests like the Lunar X competition are making a difference in helping provide some incentive for companies to get us back to space.
"At X Prize, we believe that the spirit of competition brings about breakthroughs that once seemed unimaginable or impossible, and so it thrills us to now have two Google Lunar X Prize teams with verified launch contracts attempting missions to the moon in 2017," Chanda Gonzales, senior director of the Google Lunar X Prize, said in a statement. "The new space race is truly on!"
Moon Express is just one of many ambitious companies hoping to ride the coattails of major firms like SpaceX, and if they can pull off a successful rover landing, the sky’s the limit (pun intended).
(Via The Verge)