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Private Company To Shoot For The Moon This Year

Photo from Pixabay

A private company has announced that it has amassed the funds necessary to fly to the moon, quite literally.

Moon Express is a contender in Google’s Lunar X Prize that has a $30 million prize at stake. The company just announced that it has raised enough to build, test and launch its MX-1E spacecraft – unmanned by humans – to the moon’s surface by the end of this year.

CEO Bob Richards said in a statement, “We now have all the resources in place to shoot for the moon.” The company has raised over $45 million in private funds for its lunar endeavor, Mashable reports.

Richards added,

Our goal is to expand Earth’s social and economic sphere to the moon, our largely unexplored eighth continent, and enable a new era of low cost lunar exploration and development for students, scientists, space agencies and commercial interests.

Moon Express intends to do this by launching several missions beginning this year that will help identify what kind of technology is needed to land on the moon, and eventually look for life-supporting resources like water.

Google started its Lunar X Prize to help support the budding private industry in its space efforts, by giving a multimillion dollar prize to the first private company that could land a robotic craft on the moon. The robot must also be able to move 500 meters and should beam back photos and videos while on the moon’s surface.

There are currently four competitors for the prize, including Moon Express, all of which have confirmed booking rides on rockets shooting for the moon before 2017 ends.

Moon Express will be riding on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, which is yet to test its first flight. Naveen Jain, co-founder of Moon Express, said, “We know that there are trillions of dollars of precious resources on the moon, and we can now seek to unlock those resources with exponential technologies for the benefit of all of humanity, enabling entrepreneurs to do what only superpowers have done before.”

Moon Express was the first private company to receive approval from the US government to fly a spacecraft to the moon.

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