Private company Moon Express has filed for a permit to launch its MX-1 lander to the moon, a move that could potentially lead to the commercialization of trips to our natural satellite.
If approved, they will be the first private enterprise in history to land a space vessel on the moon. The California-based company intends to explore at least one-third of a mile of the moon’s surface over a two-week period in 2017.
Reports of federal approval being highly likely arose after sources claimed that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is considering the request and that they are smoothing out approval processes.
The FAA, however, is not the sole governing body Moon Express needs approval from before launching, as the company also needs the go-signal from the Department of State.
Advancements in technology mean the costs of fabricating rockets are plummeting enough for private enterprises, like SpaceX and Moon Express, to explore.
“What used to require the unlimited budgets of a superpower, are now within reach of private enterprise,” they wrote in their website.
Moon Express is a contender at the Google Lunar XPrize and has nabbed the Landing Prize ($1 million) and the Imaging Prize ($250,000).
Like Elon Musk of SpaceX, Moon Express believes staying on Earth is not enough to keep the civilization’s existence going. “We believe it’s critical for humanity to become a multi-world species and that our sister world, the Moon, is an eighth continent holding vast resources than can help us enrich and secure our future. The Moon is unique in that its surface has remained relatively constant over billions of years,” their website says.