The first private mission to the moon has been approved by the U.S. government, but don’t expect to have your moon trip greenlit anytime soon. Moon Express became the first private company to be approved to land on the moon, the company announced Wednesday.
“The Moon Express 2017 mission approval is a landmark decision by the U.S. government and a pathfinder for private sector commercial missions beyond the Earth’s orbit,” Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards said. “We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity.”
The company plans on bringing natural resources from the moon back to earth in the future. Moon Express co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain said, according to Quartz, “To me, the moon is really like international waters, but if you obtain resources, you do get to own the resources.”
Moon Express also intends to win the Google Lunar X-PRIZE competition, which will award $20 million to the first team to land a rover on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit HD video of it all before 2017. According to Quartz, Moon Express’s mission will cost $25 million and will include a lander “roughly the size of a coffee table.”
The FAA made it clear in a release not all moon missions are going to be approved, writing, “not all non-traditional space missions may lend themselves to favorable payload determinations.” The FAA added, “Future missions may require additional authority to be provided to the FAA to ensure conformity with the Outer Space Treaty.”
At least commercial flights to space may soon be a thing.In other moon news earlier this year Europe announced plans for a manned mission to the moon before 2030.