While SpaceX, Blue Origin and the likes are busy working on reusable rockets that will eventually lead to future space travel, a private firm has been approved to travel beyond Earth’s orbit, into space and land on the Moon in 2017. Moon Express, Inc., the first approved private entity, won’t be ferrying curious visitors onboard its robotic spacecraft, though. Instead, Moon Express will be kind of like the NASA of private sector in which the company will carry out lunar exploration and discovery previously reserved for government agencies.
The company hopes to unlock the “immense potential of the Moon’s valuable resources,” and in Bob Richards, CEO and co-founder of Moon Express, own words, “seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity.” Commercialization of space exploration is a logical step and a must-do if mankind wants to accelerate the process of space exploration. Competition helps to fuel advancement, though at this point, it seems like destination Moon has yet to have any real competition. In any case, a quicker exploration and discovery is a must cos’, as we all are well aware, our dearest Earth is getting pretty over populated by the day and her resources are depleting at compounding speed.
Moon Express is a leading contender to win in the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE competition and since its inception in 2010, the company has been working hard to make commercial space exploration a reality. The outfit submitted its application to explore space beyond Earth’s orbit to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on April 8 year and on August 3, 2016, a milestone was achieved when Moon Express was granted approval to do so. While the approval is certainly worth celebrating, it is to note that, according to the Outer Space Treaty adopted in 1967, it dictates that space, along with any celestial bodies, including the Moon, have no ownership and therefore, technically speaking, the outer world is free for anyone to explore.
However, that obviously is not the case because it does need some form of regulations to ensure orderly conduct and such. In short, someone, and in such instance, governments around the world has to regulate to ensure private entities do not make a mess out of it and also, to ensure missions are beneficial to mankind.
Image: Moon Express Inc.