Crank up that Sinatra song because a private company might be flying you to the moon in the future. The United States government has allowed a private company to make a trip to the moon, the first of its kind to be made by a private entity, as the government has never before allowed a private space mission beyond our planet’s orbit. It will be sending a robotic lander to the moon in 2017.
The approval, granted by the Federal Aviation Administration, has set a precedent for private companies who want to make their own expeditions to the moon, asteroids, and even to Mars. SpaceX is just one of the private space companies that’s very interested in landing humans on Mars. It will not surprise anyone to hear that private companies could have ambitions of one day flying tourists up to the moon.
Moon Express, the Florida-based company that will be sending the lander next year, will send up several science experiments and commercial cargo on this one-way trip. Cargo includes cremated human remains. The lander is going to beam back pictures and videos of the lunar surface to Earth which will most certainly be amazing to watch.
It has been a while since NASA made a trip to the moon. It’s going to take on an advisory role in the private company’s mission but it’s not going to be regulating the lander’s activities. We are surely living in exciting times.