Japanese Company ispace Signs with SpaceX for Two Moon Missions

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 - 11:36AM
Space
Moon
SpaceX
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 - 11:36AM
Japanese Company ispace Signs with SpaceX for Two Moon Missions
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Image Credit: SpaceX
Well, it's been a banner two weeks for SpaceX: they've given new updates on their BFR rocket, announced the first space tourist to go around the Moon, revealed tentative plans to build a "Mars Base Alpha" by 2028, and now the Japanese space start-up ispace has signed on with them to launch two new missions to the Moon. For those of you with sharp memories, ispace was one of the handful of companies who participated in Google's XPrize contest to send a lander to the Moon, which ended with no winner. Now ispace is back and looking to make its vision of "Moon Valley" a reality.

"Moon Valley" is the name coined by ispace for a concept that unites the Earth and Moon into one big biome:

"By taking advantage of lunar water resources, we can develop the space infrastructure needed to enrich our daily lives on [E]arth-as well as expand our living sphere into space. Also, by making the Earth and Moon one system, a new economy with space infrastructure at its core will support human life, making sustainability a reality. This result is our ultimate goal, and our search for water on the Moon is the first step to achieving that goal."

As mentioned above, the first priority for ispace is going to be locating and leveraging water sources on the Moon. To that end, they've scheduled two missions to send a lander, then a pair of rovers to lay the foundation for what comes next: an 'industrial platform' that will allow them to continue developing a full-fledged human colony. The first two missions are planned for 2020 and 2021, and will rely on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets to ferry their cargo safely to the Moon.

What's most interesting about this venture is that ispace isn't just looking to exploit lunar resources to make Earthlings richer—according to their website, "Life on Earth in the future will not be sustainable without satellite-based space infrastructure." The ways ispace sees it, everything from agriculture to environmental sustainability will depend on space, and extending our ventures to the Moon is going to be the key to keeping humanity alive.


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