Moon Express Making Progress on Plans to Mine the Moon

- March 11th, 2015

CNBC reported that California-based Moon Express Inc., which recently successfully tested a prototype of a lunar lander, is on its way to sending its lander to the moon next year. The company is working with NASA engineers, and its goal is to get to the moon and ultimately gain access to its “considerable resources.”

CNBC reported that California-based Moon Express Inc., which recently successfully tested a prototype of a lunar lander, is on its way to sending its lander to the moon next year. The company is working with NASA engineers, and its goal is to get to the moon and ultimately gain access to its “considerable resources.”

As quoted in the market news:

In addition to Moon Express, NASA is also working with Astrobotic Technologies of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California, to develop commercial robotic spacecrafts.

[Moon Express Co-founder and Chairman Naveen Jain] said Moon Express also recently signed an agreement to take over Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral. The historic launchpad will be used for Moon Express’s lander development and flight-test operations. Before it was decommissioned, the launchpad was home to NASA’s Atlas-Centaur rocket program and its Surveyor moon landers.

Jain told CNBC:

Clearly, NASA has an amazing amount of expertise when it comes to getting to the moon, and it wants to pass that knowledge on to a company like ours that has the best chance of being successful.

The article sums up the moon’s resources as follows:

Among the moon’s vast riches: gold, cobalt, iron, palladium, platinum, tungsten and Helium-3, a gas that can be used in future fusion reactors to provide nuclear power without radioactive waste. ‘We went to the moon 50 years ago, yet today we have more computing power with our iPhones than the computers that sent men into space,’ Jain said. ‘That type of exponential technological growth is allowing things to happen that was never possible before.’

Moon Express’ lander has a lofty goal:

The lander’s first mission is a one-way trip, meaning that it’s not designed to travel back to the Earth, said Jain. ‘The purpose is to show that for the first time, a company has developed the technology to land softly on the moon,’ he said. ‘Landing on the moon is not the hard part. Landing softly is the hard part.’

That’s because even though the gravity of the moon is one-sixth that of the Earth’s, the lander will still be traveling down to the surface of the moon ‘like a bullet,’ Jain explained. Without the right calculations to indicate when its rockets have to fire in order to slow it down, the lander would hit the surface of the moon and break into millions of pieces. ‘Unlike here on Earth, there’s no GPS on the moon to tell us this, so we have to do all these calculations first,’ he said.

Click here to read the full CNBC report.

Leave a Reply