A Private Company Just Got Permission to Fly to the Moon Next Year

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 - 12:27PM
Moon
Wednesday, 03 August 2016 - 12:27PM
A Private Company Just Got Permission to Fly to the Moon Next Year
It looks like private space is taking a giant leap for mankind. A commercial company based in Florida has just received permission from the U.S. government to fly to the moon, a feat which has only been achieved by the government itself.

The company, called Moon Express and based in Cape Canaveral, submitted a proposal to the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation to send a lander to the moon. The FAA conducted an interagency review of the mission, laying out parameters that would ensure it complied with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Their subsequent approval marks the first time that a government agency has been given the authority to oversee a private space mission outside of Earth's orbit.

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"It's been a very steep mountain," CEO and founder Bob Richards told Raw Story. "We had to lay the track at the same time that we wanted to do the mission."
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The spacecraft plans to send a lander, described as "suitcase-sized," to the Moon for two weeks. It will not only carry commercial payloads such as cremated human remains, but equipment for several different science experiments. They also plan to send both pictures and video back to Earth, and with new technologies, they could be more detailed than ever before. 

Although traveling to the Moon is not as delicate as traveling to other planets, especially ones that show more evidence of potential life forms, there are still several issues to consider. NASA assisted in the review, particularly when it comes to ensuring that the mission wouldn't disturb Apollo or other historic landing sites, and will advise (although not oversee) the mission in the future.
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"We proposed a scenario that built on the existing FAA mission-approval framework," Richards said.
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Funding has been a primary issue for space travel over the last few decades, with many scientists citing it as the main reason we haven't traveled to Mars or achieved other feats that are within our reach. There has also been an increasing interest in private space ventures, particularly in conjunction with government agencies like NASA, such as SpaceX's resupply missions to the ISS. As we're seeing with Moon Express, which has planned a trip to the Moon before NASA has been able to, privately funded companies may be the future of space exploration.
Science
Space
Moon