A private company founded by rich guys is ready to start mining on the moon

Here’s our interpretation of what mining on the moon might look like (credit: NASA and Sneeboer via Wikimedia)

A private company founded by Silicon Valley and space entrepreneurs is ready to take one giant leap for mankind, and start mining for gold and other precious resources on the moon.

And while that might sound like the plot of a big-budget disaster movie, Moon Express is the first private company in history to receive the US government’s permission to travel beyond Earth’s orbit. According to co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain, “Moon Express now has all the capital it needs to land its small robotic spacecraft on the surface of the moon in November or December of 2017.”

If Moon Express succeeds, not only could it win Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition — which will award $20 million to the first company to privately fund a rover that reaches the moon, travels 500 meters and transmits back high definition video — but it plans to start mining the moon for resources, such as Helium-3 (a clean, non-radioactive energy source), gold, platinum group metals, rare earth metals and water.

Oh, and it wants to help develop human space colonies. [CNBC]