It's a big step for the commercial space industry. No other company thus far has received approval to do business beyond the Earth. Moon Express expects to do its first lunar mission in 2017. SpaceX, for its part, will require the same approval for its own 2018 trip to the moon.
While the Apollo program cost $100 billion to send man to the moon, Moon Express's first mission will cost only $25 million.
But in an interview with Quartz, Moon Express cofounder and chairman Naveen Jain wasn't clear about what he planned to do with this new service. He suggested, for instance, mining moon rocks to sell on earth, like you would sell diamonds.
What if we just brought the moon rocks? Diamonds on earth are not rare, simply brilliant marketing. Moon rocks are beautiful, I gave my wife a piece of moon rock on my 25th wedding anniversary. 'If you love her enough, give her the moon.'
Hopefully there will be more interesting uses for this technology soon. ES