A new competition to send a probe to the moon has a front runner, and the Moon Express could give mankind access to the moon's resources.
We’ve mined just about every inch of this planet, and now some entrepreneurs and space industry execs are turning their eyes to the moon for mining. Influential figures in Sillicon Valley are attempting to push forward the Moon Express with the goal of shooting a probe up to the moon, which would then mine it for valuable minerals and bring it back to Earth, and the project just took a big step forward by raising the money to make it happen.
The Moon Express will compete for the Lunar XPrize offered by Google, and a team can get $20 million if they can be first to land a probe on the moon. Moon Express is the frontrunner to win the competition and it already has premission from the Federal Aviation Administration to do so. They’ve also raised another $20 million from venture capital funds for a total funding of $45 million.
If the effort is successful, Moon Express could send up more probes, including one that would collect a sample. And if that goes well, we could be mining the moon for every resource it’s got soon.
Lunar XPrize states on their website: “The first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team to successfully complete the mission will be awarded $5 million. To win either of these prizes, teams must prove that 90% of their mission costs were funded by private sources. Teams have until the end of 2016 to announce a verified launch contract to remain in the competition and complete their mission by the end of 2017.
“To date, XPRIZE is exceptionally pleased to officially confirm receipt and verification of four Google Lunar XPRIZE team launch contracts for 2017; SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (US), Synergy Moon (International), and Team Indus (India).”