Almost 50 years ago, when NASA first sent men to the moon, the United States spent roughly $100 billion dollars to do so. In Moon Express’ co-founder Naveen Jain is correct, by 2026, people will be about to go to the moon and back for just $10,000 per ticket, a remarkable decrease in the ticket price. Naveen made this rather bold prediction during a recent interview with CNBC. He even suggested that the trip to the moon would take roughly four hours, perhaps a reference to the EmDrive, a propellantless engine its proponents maintain will get people to the moon in hours, and to Mars in weeks.

2016 has been a year of rather startling predictions for commercial Space CEOs. Earlier, Elon Musk of SpaceX waxed eloquently about sending settlers to Mars for the cost of a few 100 thousand dollars per person. Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos has talked about free flying colonies in space and taking heavy industry off the planet. Asteroid mining companies such as Planetary Resources dream of extracting trillions of dollars of resources from hurtling rocks in the sky.

Of course, a lot of things have to happen before one can take a honeymoon (to use the corny pun offered by Naveen) on the moon.

Virgin Galactic has yet to start its often delayed suborbital tourist barnstorming service that will cost hundreds of thousands per ticket. Blue Origin is contemplating a similar service with its New Shepard rocket, currently being tested in the skies over West Texas.

Naveen also revealed that he had had discussions with Elon Musk concerning a partnership for the latter’s Mars ambitions. Moon Express might build a rover that the Red Dragon could deliver to the Martian surface to perform operations on the Red Planet.

Currently, Moon Express has launch contracts with another, smaller launch company, Rocket Lab, to send robotic probes to the lunar surface.

For thousands of years, the moon has been a source of wonder and romance. The first moon landing on July 20, 1969 remains one of the brightest memories in human history. If Naveen is right, even if he is off by a few years, the moon will become far more significant in the course of civilization sooner than many think.

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