A spaceflight company has an ambitious goal to mine on the moon in the next few years. Moon Express said they will be able to mine on the Lunar Surface by using robots as early as 2020, Endgaget reported.

Recently, the company revealed its plans to get its mission up and running. Moon Express is a startup who joined Google's Lunar Xprize challenge. The price to be won is the funding to launch a spacecraft to the lunar surface.

Mining

The company is not satisfied with just landing on the moon. They plan on staying longer and mining resources on the surface. They aim to build a lunar outpost in the coming years.

Their first mission is called the Lunar Scout.

The payload will be sent to orbit using Rocket Lab's electron rocket. Moon Express will use its MX-1E robotic explorer to land on the surface in order to deliver materials. The company also plans to send an International Lunar Observatory to the Earth's satellite.

Establishing a lunar outpost

They plan to accomplish all that this year - the delivery of the lunar observatory and other payloads. If they succeed in completing this phase by the end of the year, they will have a shot at the $20 million prize. However, they should be able to finish their transport before the four other finalists in order to win the money.

The lunar outpost will pave the way for the company's presence on the South Pole of the satellite. This is the second mission. Robots will be used to mine on the surface, one of them is the MX-2 system. While there, the robots will search for water and other materials that are worth mining.

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Meanwhile, the third mission is called Harvest Moon. In this phase, the company plans to collect samples from the Earth's satellite back to the planet in 2020.

Landing

Despite the tight deadline, it looks like Rocket Lab is not yet finished with the MX-1E lander. Engadget reported that the company is still working on the Electron rocket. The rocket has only flown once and is scheduled for two more launches this year.

The company made a noise last year when Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) gave them a clearance to land on the moon. This was the first time a private company was granted this kind of permit from the government agency.

Industry experts say that mining there is beneficial for everyone. Even NASA thinks that the place could be a perfect gateway for deep space explorations. Today, scientists are studying if indeed the water and ice found on the lunar surface can be converted to propellants.

Moon Express believes in the economic value of the resources found outside our planet. They believe that mining on the lunar surface will make interplanetary travels like mission Mars possible. With water ice converted to a propellant, it can also serve as an outpost or gas station for spacecraft in the future.

It is too early to say if the Moon Express' plan will work or if it will even win the Lunar Xprize.