In a race against global superpowers, Moon Express — a private venture founded by billionaire entrepreneur Naveen Jain, space technology guru Dr. Barney Pell and space futurist Dr. Bob Richards — has cleared a path for private U.S . companies looking to explore and commercialize space.
Today the company is the first private enterprise in history to receive U.S. government approval to travel beyond Earth’s orbit and undertake a deep space mission. The goal: to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon’s surface in 2017 and analyze and explore its valuable resources that can be used on Earth.
The moon is a treasure chest that has vast amounts of iron ore, water, rare Earth minerals and precious metals, as well as carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium-3, a gas that can be used in future fusion reactors to provide nuclear power without radioactive waste. Experts concur that the value of these resources are in the trillions of dollars.
The moon can also serve as a fuel depot station for interplanetary space exploration. It has massive amounts of ice (H2O) trapped on the lunar poles that can be used for rocket fuel. “Getting this approval shows what a few entrepreneurs are capable of,” said Chairman Naveen Jain. “It’s a good first step for commercial space pioneers.”
The landmark ruling issued by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation provides for interagency approval of the Moon Express 2017 lunar mission under the authority of the Secretary of Transportation, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal agencies to review and license commercial payloads missions in outer space.
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