Space travel may take one giant leap toward privatization, if a company called Moon Express gets its way.
That’s because Moon Express is planning history’s first privately funded and organized mission to the moon. It’s awaiting for federal approval, but sources close to the situation have told The Wall Street Journal the company’s likely to get it.
The plan is to launch a craft called the MX-1 within the next 12 months and to land it on the moon’s surface with a 20-pound payload of scientific equipment.
The mission requires federal approval because the U.S. has to abide by international space treaties, and getting approval is notoriously difficult.
On the other hand, moon exploration these days is cheaper than ever. According to The Wall Street Journal, six years ago a lunar mission would have cost $50 million, while today it would cost about half that.
Meanwhile, NASA’s budget has shrunk dramatically since the 1960s, and further budget cuts are on the horizon. So in some ways, this may be Moon Express’s moment to boldly go where no corporation has gone before.