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Moon Express Raises $20 Million In Series B-1, Fully Funds Trip To The Moon (techcrunch.com) 63

The company competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize, Moon Express, has raised $20 million in funding and announced that they have now fully financed their mission to the moon. The company made history last year as it became the first private company to receive permission to travel to the moon. Moon Express plans to launch their MX-1E spacecraft to the moon at the end of 2017 with the goal of winning the $20 million grand prize in the X-Prize competition. TechCrunch reports: If successful, Moon Express would become the first private company and the fourth entity in history to soft-land on the moon. The first three entities were all government-funded superpowers from the U.S., USSR and China. Of course to win that title, Moon Express will need to beat the other X-Prize competitors including SpaceIL from Israel, Team Indus from India (carrying the Japanese team HAKUTO as a payload), and the international team Synergy Moon. Each company has had launch contracts confirmed by X-Prize, a requirement to remain in the competition. The first company to soft-land on the Moon, travel 500 meters across its surface, and transmit high-definition video and images back to Earth will win the grand prize of $20 million. There's also $5 million up for grabs for the company that comes in second. Perhaps the most challenging of the X-Prize requirements is the deadline. To win the prizes, competitors must complete all tasks by the end of 2017. Although the X-Prize Foundation has pushed the deadline back before. What makes the Google Lunar X-Prize competition especially unique is that it required participants to obtain 90% of their funding from private sources. In theory, this would encourage profit-driven business plans, kick-starting a wave of lunar-based commercialization.
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Moon Express Raises $20 Million In Series B-1, Fully Funds Trip To The Moon

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...but landing on the moon gets you only 20 million? Fuck off, Google.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft bought Minecraft, the 2nd most popular video game of all time. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft
      It will earn them a profit while this X prize earns Google zero (besides a little publicity)

      • Well if it works they will earn sponsors for future endeavors. So they will earn something, everyone will want to go to the Moon -- and beyond =)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Imagine that, a game played by tens of millions of people is worth more than the emotional nostalgia for a half century old stunt.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        How would you like $700,000,000,000,000,000,000.00? ($700 quintillion)

        That's how much in raw material is said to be in the asteroid belt. After we mine that, then there are over 100 moons in the outer planets, and after that, there's the Oort cloud. It has twenty thousand times the mass of the asteroid belt (mass of 5 earths). One day, humanity could have 1000 times its current population and generation ships travelling to other stars - but not if we first don't get off this rock.

        • by plopez ( 54068 )

          And it will only cost $800 Quintillion to actually do the mining and processing! Score! BTW, how much energy will it take? If it takes more energy than is available then once again nothing is gained.

          • This again? [xkcd.com] ;)
        • by murdocj ( 543661 )

          We are "off this rock". We have rovers on Mars. Orbiters of Saturn and Jupiter. Probes in interstellar space. Space observatories photographing the beginnings of our universe. How much more "off this rock" can we be?

          Oh, you mean spending far more to loft a human or two to Mars? Yeah, that makes sense... lol.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @06:29AM (#53666491)

    Moon Express has contracted five rockets from launch provider Rocket Lab USA. A newcomer to the launch industry, Rocket Lab USA has yet to fly their experimental Electron rocket – the same rocket that is contracted to take Moon Express’ MX-1E to the moon. It’s first launch is set for later this month

    If those rockets don't work, they can always build a bridge to the moon out stacks of money. -_-

  • by Xenophule ( 984758 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:10AM (#53666563)
    2050: Moon Express is excited to announce rockets to Mars under their new division - Planet Express!
  • Permission? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:27AM (#53666597)

    From whom does one ask permission to go to the moon? And who authorises that authority to grant it? And what would be the punishment if one went to the moon without permission?

    • Re:Permission? (Score:4, Informative)

      by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @09:00AM (#53666761)
      Inside the US you need permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch and land something that big.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      From whom does one ask permission to go to the moon? And who authorises that authority to grant it? And what would be the punishment if one went to the moon without permission?

      If you can drag the whole launch platform into international waters, nobody I think. It's not the going to the moon that's regulated, it's launching to get there. The outer space treaty says that nobody lays claim to own the moon, so there's no such thing as trespass. I'd think most other things would follow the "flag rules", if you're on a US ship in international waters US laws apply aboard the ship. What would happen if you went there, declared the treaty invalid and your independence as a free nation is

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What are they gonna do, send the space cops after me?

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        Yep, if you are willing to live the rest of your life on an airless desolate rock, you are good.

  • by trawg ( 308495 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @08:37PM (#53669647) Homepage

    On Slashdot a few days ago there was a story about a hardware company that imploded after raising $35 million, trying to build some little drones.

    I'm no rocket scientist but I feel like getting to the moon might be a little more challenging?

  • Who the freak needs to give ANYONE permission to travel to the moon? I hate bureaucracy.
  • The one thing I can look up to and see as a historical constant will be gone. I wonder if they will figure out a way to leave cans and candy bar wrappers behind as well.
  • The first three entities were all government-funded superpowers from the U.S., USSR and China.

    What the hell is that supposed to mean? How about "..were the superpowers, the US, USSR and China" or "government agencies of the superpowers; the US, USSR and China."? How about a simple "...were funded by the superpowers; ..."?

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