Moon Express has raised enough money for its first mission
Moon Express has raised the funds as part of its attempt to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, which aims to reward the first private company to land a robot on the Moon. The $30 million prize (£23m) will be awarded to the first company to soft-land on the moon, travel 500 metres across the surface and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth. The company that comes second will win $5m (£4m).
The start-up is planning to launch its MX-1E spacecraft to the Moon at the end of this year. If successful Moon Express would become the first private company, and only the fourth entity ever, to soft-land on the Moon.
Moon Express wants to explore our lunar companion in order to investigate the Moon’s resources, describing it as an “eighth continent, holding vast resources” that could benefit life on Earth. “In the immediate future, we envision bringing precious resources, metals and moons back to Earth,” co-founder and chairman, Naveen Jain said in August 2016.
In order to make its dream possible, Moon Express is working with launch provider Rocket Lab USA, and plans to use its Electron rocket to take Moon Express’ MX-1E on its lunar journey. Though Rocket Lab USA is yet to fly its experimental rocket, the first launch is set for later this month.
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