Just like Elon Musk, a Mountain View-based tech company is looking to take you to space, everybody. CBS 5 reports that Moon Express has plans to send a ship to the extraterrestrial body as early as next year, and that the US government has signed off on the project.
But that goal, lofty as it is, is only the beginning — a moon base is in the works. Yes, a moon base.
“Our goal is not only to bring back the resources for the benefit of humanity on planet earth, but also to be able to create a colony on the moon, and that will become a stepping stone to deeper space,” explained Moon Express co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain.
The FAA announced its approval of the mission yesterday, paving the way for Moon Express to do its thing. "On July 20, 2016, the FAA made a favorable payload determination for the Moon Express MX-1E mission," reads a FAA fact sheet on the decision. "The FAA has determined that the launch of the payload does not jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property, U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, or international obligations of the United States."
But just how, exactly, does Moon Express intend to get there? Some sort of partnership with SpaceX, or perhaps Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin? Not quite. Instead, it appears the company is using a ship of its own design.
"The MX-1E is a spacecraft/lander capable of transfer from Earth orbit to the Moon, making a soft landing on the lunar surface, and performing post-landing relocations through propulsive 'hops,' ” the FAA fact sheet tells us.
And the company doesn't plan to stop there. Rather, the intention is to use water mined on the moon as fuel for future space exploration. “The sky is not the limit for Moon Express — it is the launchpad," explained Jain via a press release. "This breakthrough ruling is another giant leap for humanity. Space travel is our only path forward to ensure our survival and create a limitless future for our children."
And, of course, Moon Express isn't alone in these straight-out-of-science-fiction goals. Elon Musk has announced plans to take people to Mars by 2024.
Unfortunately for all you would-be astronauts out there, the first mission will be unmanned. Jain, however, thinks his company will be sending people up soon enough. "In 15 years, the moon will be an important part of earth's economy, and potentially our second home. Imagine that."