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Cape Canaveral Company Wants To Put Robot On The Moon

Rendering of MX-1 lander. Photo: Moon Express
Rendering of MX-1 lander. Photo: Moon Express

A private space company based at Cape Canaveral wants to put a robot on the moon. Moon Express is a step closer to its goal and a multi million dollar prize.

The company has secured launch contracts for its mission from another private space company, Rocket Lab.

Google’s XPRIZE will award nearly $30 million to the first team to land on and explore the lunar surface

It’s an incentive to get private industry involved in space exploration, but Moon Express CEO Bob Richards says the mission is about more than just the prize money.

"It’s important for our long term vision, our long term intentions of exploring the moon for vital resources. So we’ll be able to fly to a number of locations on the moon, take measurements and send back data. And that’s very important to us," says Richards.

Richards hopes to find resources like water that can be used for further exploration of our Solar System.

"To me, as an explorer, it doesn’t really matter what the spice is. We will go to the moon and we will solve the most important thing which is the transportation challenge - collapsing the cost and new markets will open up with the things that we find there, and the things we want to do there," says Richards.

Sixteen companies are competing for the prize. Google requires each team to be 90% privately funded, and get there by the end of 2017.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."