Moon Express teams up with NASA to mine the Moon

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A California-based company Moon Express is planning to mine the Moon and to achieve that goal it has teamed up with US space agency NASA to build robotic lander that will be sent to Earth’s natural satellite.

Co-founded by Indian origin billionaire Naveen Jain, the company is already planning to send its first commercial robotic lander called ‘ MX-1’ to the Moon in 2016. The company has already tested a prototype of a lunar lander at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

According to Naveen Jain, whose vision is to use the Moon as some sort of a station for further space exploration, the success of company’s lunar lander prototype test and a series of others that will happen over the course of this year will help them to send its lander to the moon next year.

Moon Express also signed an agreement to take over Space Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral and the historic launchpad will be used for Moon Express’s lander development and flight-test operations, Jain said.

The company is planning a no-tethered free flight test of its lander MX-1 wherein the lander will take off from the pad, go up and sideways, then land back at the launchpad. MX-1, once launched, will be on a one-way mission never to come back to Earth.

“The purpose is to show that for the first time, a company has developed the technology to land softly on the moon,” Jain was quoted as saying by NBC News. “Landing on the moon is not the hard part. Landing softly is the hard part.”

If successful, Moon Express is planning to send out further lander missions which will return to Earth bringing with them precious metals, minerals and even moon rocks.

“Clearly, NASA has an amazing amount of expertise when it comes to getting to the moon, and it wants to pass that knowledge on to a company like ours that has the best chance of being successful,” Jain was quoted as saying.