Space

April 23, 2012

Moon Express delivers lunar mission design report to NASA

moon-express

Moon Express, a Google Lunar X PRIZE contender, announced today that it has successfully delivered a mission design package to NASA under its Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data Program, providing NASA continuing data on the development of the company’s commercial lunar missions and plans to mine the Moon for precious planetary resources.

The newest task order in the $10 million ILDD contract called for Moon Express to provide NASA with data about the company’s progress through a Preliminary Design Checkpoint Technical Package that documents details of mission operations, spacecraft development, payload accommodations and Planetary Protection Plans.

Technology luminaries Naveen Jain and Barney Pell teamed with space visionary Bob Richards in the founding of Moon Express in 2010, announcing a partnership with NASA to develop a new robotic spacecraft capable of going to the Moon and asteroids. Silicon Valley-based Moon Express was one of only three U.S. companies awarded funding under NASA’s ILDD program in that year. Although the ILDD contract is an important substantiation of NASA’s interest in commercial lunar providers, the majority of Moon Express funding is coming from private investment and is supplemented by revenues from payload customers.

“The Moon has never been explored from an entrepreneurial perspective,” said Naveen Jain, Moon Express co-founder and chairman. “Think of the Moon as the Earth’s eighth continent, potentially the largest repository of asteroid resources in the solar system, and we have barely begun to explore it.”

Moon Express has revealed plans to prospect and mine the Moon for precious planetary resources such as metals and water which are believed to be abundant on the Moon from millions of years of asteroid bombardment. “The Moon is an asteroid magnet,” said company co-founder and CEO Bob Richards, a longtime advocate of space resources. “In addition to resource abundance, the Moon is right next door and does us the favor of pre-processing and storing the asteroid material so we can access it cost-effectively and safely with known technologies.”

Moon Express co-founder, vice-chairman and CTO Dr. Barney Pell, a former NASA technology manager, is confident of the value proposition of lunar water combined with precious metals. “There could be more platinum group metals on the surface of the Moon than in all the reserves of Earth,” he said. “And the lunar water we now know to be present is the key to liberating lunar resources economically.”

In an in-depth article about Moon Express in April 2011, Resource Word magazine has called Moon Express plans “the biggest mining story in history. It could benefit the lives of millions of Earthlings.” The mining industry journal stated, “The Moon may also have large quantities of platinum group metals (platinum, rhodium, iridium, osmium, and ruthenium) that have potential economic value on Earth. Platinum, for example, is the primary metal needed to make fuel cells. Evidence suggests there could be a trillion dollars’ worth of platinum group metals in an average asteroid. We know asteroids contain platinum, and we know the level of asteroid bombardment experienced by the Moon. By deductive reasoning, we can conclude that the levels of platinum on the Moon are high.”

While pursuing the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE announced by Larry Page and Peter Diamandis in 2007, Moon Express plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development. Moon Express will also focus on bringing lunar resources into Earth’s economic sphere to catalyze humanity’s future in space.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
ball-satelilte

Ball Aerospace integrates two of five instruments for JPSS-1

Two of the five instruments scheduled to fly on the nation’s next polar-orbiting weather satellite, NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System -1, have been integrated to the spacecraft bus by prime contractor Ball Aerospa...
 
 
NASA/JPL photograph

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft captures best-ever view of dwarf planet

Zoomed out – PIA19173 Ceres appears sharper than ever at 43 pixels across, a higher resolution than images of Ceres taken by the NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has retur...
 
 
ATK

ATK completes installation of world’s largest solid rocket motor for ground test

ATK The first qualification motor for NASA’s Space Launch Systems booster is installed in ATK’s test stand in Utah – ready for a March 11 static-fire test. NASA and ATK have completed installing the first Spac...
 

 
ULA photograph

Third Lockheed Martin-built MUOS satellite launched, responding to commands

ULA photograph The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing successfully launched the third Mobile User Objective System satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Navy at 8:04 p.m. Jan. 20, 2015, from Launch Complex 41 at...
 
 
ULA photograph

ULA successfully launches Navy’s Mobile User Objective System-3

ULA photograph The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing successfully launched the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite, built by Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Navy at 8:04 p.m. Jan. 20, 2015, from Launch Comple...
 
 

Aerojet Rocketdyne Propulsion supports launch, flight of third MUOS satellite

Aerojet Rocketdyne played a critical role in successfully placing the third of five planned Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-3) satellites, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, into orbit for the U.S. Navy. The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, with five Aerojet...
 




One Comment


  1. Tanya

    Where do people take money to build these things, seriously? Naveen Jain must be rich. No wonder, he was the founder of Info Space and now he is the CEO of Intelius. But he is not perfect, he did some bad things back in the past: http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2002198103_dotcon1main06.html



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>