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Thursday, July 18, 2013
Private enterprise mission to the Moon's South Pole
world's first mission to the South Pole of the Moon was announced
Thursday by the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA)
and Moon Express, Inc. The private enterprise mission will be both
scientific and commercial, and will deliver the International Lunar
Observatory (ILO) to the Moon's South Pole aboard a Moon Express
robotic lander, establishing permanent astrophysical observations and
lunar commercial communications systems for professional and amateur
researchers. The announcement was made during a NASA Lunar Science
Institute conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View,
Express will also utilize the mission to explore the Moon's South
Pole for mineral resources and water. Lunar probes have provided
compelling evidence of mineral and volatile deposits in the Moon's
southern polar region where energy and resources may be
ILO, with its two-meter dish antenna, will be the world's first
instrument to conduct international astrophysical observations and
communications from the lunar surface, providing scientific research.
is a global consortium of scientists, educators, entrepreneurs and
visionaries who seek to establish a scientific presence on the Moon
followed by human exploration and eventual settlement. ILOA expects
that the South Pole mission could take place as early as 2016.
Express is the mission partner in the venture, providing the lunar
lander, mission architecture and operations. The company was unveiled
in August 2010 as a commercial lunar resource company and is
partnered with NASA for its lunar lander development. Moon Express
will send a series of robotic missions to the Moon in support of
science, commerce and exploration starting in 2015.