US approves first private moon missionMoon Express will send a lander to the moon in 2017. This is the first private space mission to go beyond the orbit of the Earth.
A private company is headed to the moon. The United States government just cleared Moon Express, a private company, to travel to the moon. This is the first time the US has allowed a private space mission to go beyond the orbit of the earth. So what's the mission? Moon Express will send a lander to the moon for a two week mission in 2017. The lander is about the size of a suitcase. While on the moon Moon Express lander will carry on science experiments and send video and pictures back to the Earth. The mission is one way the lander will not be returning to the Earth. However Moon Express's cofounder Navine Jane says that the company plans to brings back metals moon rocks and resources in future missions. The company submitted its application to head to the moon back in April. Moon Express will take steps to comply with the outer space treaty because that's a thing. NASA will advise the mission but not regulate it. Should Moon Express successfully reach the moon by its target of 2017, it could win the Google Lunar X prize. That prize is valued at $20 million. To win the prize, Moon express will have to land a robot on the moon, travel 500 metres and transmit HD video and images. 90% of mission cost must be funded by private sources. All this sounds nuts. But really exciting. Good luck to Moon express. That's it for this tech news update, I'm [UNKNOWN] and you can stay on top of the biggest stories at CNET. COM/UPDATES