The time has now come when Man is turning his attention to commercial possibilities related to setting up colonies outside our planet Earth. The lead is taken by moon Express, a privately-owned company based in Cape Canaveral. It wants to create an outpost on the moon by 2020, mine minerals from there, and transport them to Earth to sell. In order to do this effectively, it could develop colonies to accommodate its facilities.

The company has raised money from private investors to build its first spacecraft along with launch services. It also hopes to lay hands on the attractive prize money that Google has offered as a part of a competition.

The participant must land a spacecraft on the moon, conduct a number of maneuvers, and send the videos back to Earth as proof. It would act as an added incentive for the first privately-funded team.

Minerals on the moon

New Zealand Herald reports that Moon Express would be a pioneer in the field and would provide a new dimension to space travel. It would stake out its territory on the moon and establish a new identity of its own. Instead of conducting space research, it would rely on results of past to promote commercial activities.

It has selected its spacecraft which is similar in size and shape to the R2D2 droid from “Star Wars,” and is designed to hop across the surface of the Moon. It would be sent aboard a rocket which will be launched from New Zealand.

According to Bob Richards, CEO and one of the founders, the tentative plans of his company are to bring minerals in the form of lunar rocks back to Earth within about three years. These will then be available to scientists for research as well as to collectors. It also intends to have a permanent robot-operated base on the south pole of the Moon to prospect for water and other materials.

New concept of space travel

The outlook for space travel has certainly changed. Agencies like NASA, ESA, and Roscosmos want scientists to carry out research on various aspects of living in space. However, Sir Richard Branson wants his Virgin Galactic to attract people to space tourism, and Mars One wants to colonize Mars. It has already selected volunteers who will become the first batch of humans to make their home on the Red Planet.

Elon Musk also has plans to colonize Mars, and Moon Express has joined the bandwagon to exploit the potentials of mining minerals on the moon.

Obviously, the future of space travel holds promises, and the whole world wants to cash in on whatever is on offer. Incidentally, Google is keen to encourage moon missions. It has announced a couple of attractive prizes, and Moon Express could be one of the contenders.