All aboard the Moon Express: Private Company Gets Permission for Lunar Mission

All aboard the Moon Express: Private Company Gets Permission for Lunar Mission

The US Government has given permission for the commercial company "Moon Express" to travel beyond the Earth and land on the Moon.

When the mission goes ahead next year, it will be the first commercial lunar exhibition to ever happen.

But before you start planning next year's Moon trip, it will be a while before any intrepid explorers are sent into space.

The Florida based company's first mission will involve sending up the MZ-1, a rover no bigger than a washing machine.

They hope that the MZ-1 will be able to bring back moon samples as well as send high-definition video images back to Earth.

Astronaut David Scott gives a military salute while standing beside the deployed U.S. flag during the Apollo 15 lunar surface extravehicular activity. The last time an astronaut stepped on the moon was in 1972 for the Apollo 17 mission

By gaining permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to complete this mission, Moon Express look set to win Google's Lunar XPRIZE competition.

Created in 2007, the competition offers $20 million to the first company to privately fund a rover to the moon, travel 500 metres and transmit back high definition video.

By incentivising private space travel, Google hopes that scientists will find a way to build a lunar base, as well as discover beneficial natural materials that can be used on earth.

Moon Express are one of sixteen private enterprises who have entered the Lunar XPRIZE competition.

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"In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals, and Moon rocks back to Earth," said Naveen Jain, co-founder and chairman of Moon Express.

"In 15 years, the Moon will be an important part of Earth's economy, and potentially our second home. Imagine that."

Whether we will be joining the man on the moon, is a little too far off to say, but certainly the ruling is a landmark decision in lunar exploration and will open up many opportunities when it comes to making further discoveries in the fields of science and technology.

"We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth's eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth's economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity," CEO, Bob Richards, explains.

Moon Express was co-founded in 2010 by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Dr. Bob Richards, Naveen Jain and Dr. Barney Pell.

They want the company to be at the forefront of commercial space exploration and innovation - while also supporting Dr Richards' personal ambition of burying his father's ashes on the moon.

"The sky is not the limit for Moon Express - it is the launch pad," said Jain.

"This breakthrough ruling is another giant leap for humanity. Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children."