Private Firms Racing To The Moon
July 21, 2011 by staff
Private Firms Racing To The Moon, Now that the last space shuttle has landed on Earth, a new generation of space entrepreneurs would stoke the excitement at the prospect of returning to the moon. Spurred by a bag and put 30 million by Google, 29 teams have registered for a competition to become the first private land on the moon. Most of them are unlikely to overcome the financial and technical challenges to meet the deadline of December 2015 contest, but several teams think they have a good chance to win – and take an early lead in a race to take commercial advantage of our celestial neighbor.
At least, a fleet of unmanned spacecraft Moonward could be headed in the next years, with targets ranging from high to ridiculous.
A Silicon Valley venture, Moon Express, is positioning itself as a future for FedEx deliveries Moon: If you have something to send there, they would like to take. The company is a party Thursday night to show the flying capabilities of the lunar lander, based on technology licensed from NASA, and “to begin the next era of private commercial race to the moon,” as invitation to.
“In the near future, the Moon will express mining lunar module to the Moon for the valuable resources we have here on Earth,” promised the invitation. “Within a few years, we will all remember that we were there.”
Naveen Jain, an Internet billionaire and one of the founders of the Moon Express, says the company will invest 70 million to 100 million and to try to win the Google Lunar X Prize, but could recover its investment in its first flight. Providing for the sale of exclusive rights to broadcast video from the moon and sponsorships? NASCAR, for companies to put their logos on the lander.
Or maybe a tie in the reality show.
“Would not it be nice if you could have an” idol Moon, “like ‘American Idol?’” Suggested Mr. Jain, who previously founded InfoSpace and Intelius. “You take the 10 contestants and the game of their voices on the moon, burn and see what sounds best.”
(There is no air on the Moon to transmit sound waves, but “you can play through the dust and see how it sounds when you play it right on the surface,” said Jain.)
Another competitor, Astrobotic Technology, intends to sell seats on its lander lunar space agencies and scientific institutions would pay 820,000 and one pounds to send their experiments. The company, a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University, is building a big ship – much bigger than the Moon Express – capable of transporting 240 pounds of payload (ie: + 200 million charge) and hopes to be ready to Launched in December 2013.
“We can do a lot of money, even if we did not win the award,” said David Gump, president of Astrobotic, based in Pittsburgh. “We will make a substantial profit on the first flight. Basically, we will break even by selling one third of the payload.”
The X Prize competitor’s can all is hit by landers and rovers that China, Russia and India plans to send over the next two years. But these fall more in the mold of traditional probes, science built by the government.
While NASA had wanted to send astronauts back to the Moon, his show was canceled last year, a victim of budget cuts and shifting priorities. However, have been delivered and 500,000 each to the Moon Express, Astrobotic and a third competitor, Rocket City Space Pioneers, the first term of up to 30 million and will contribute to efforts X Prize.
George xenophobic, director of NASA Lunar Innovation Demonstration program data, said he hoped that one or more teams to reach the moon. “Definitely not the technical issues that is holding,” he said.
Objectives of the contestants do not appear to face legal hurdles. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967, ratified by 100 nations including the United States, the countries of bars claim sovereignty over any part of the moon, but does not prevent private companies from setting up shop. As for mining the moon, which could fall under similar legal parameters such as fishing in international waters.
Although some orbiting spacecraft crashed into the Moon in recent years, 35 years have passed since the Earth was no soft landing there. For some people, this seems like an invitation back.
“It is probably the occasion of the greatest wealth creation in modern history,” said Barney Pell, a former NASA computer scientist turned entrepreneur and now one of the founders of the Moon Express. While initially Moon Express could make money by sending small loads, the good fortune would come to bring back the platinum and other rare metals, Dr Pell said.
“In the long term, the market is huge, no doubt,” he said. “This is not a question of if. Is a matter of who and when. We hope that we, and soon.”
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