The New Space Race: Moon Express Unveils Design for MX-1 Commercial Lunar Lander
Moon Express recently unveiled the MX-1 spacecraft design at the Autodesk University in Las Vegas.
The Mountain View, California-based company is in the commercial space race, competing for the $40-million-Google Lunar X prize.
The coffee-table sized spacecraft will be powered by solar panels and hydrogen peroxide and can move about the lunar surface. Water on the lunar surface could be a "potential source of rocket fuel on the lunar surface," the company said.
The craft can be launched from a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), where communications satellites orbit. The moon lander has several applications and could be used to clean up space debris.
The craft could also be used to look for rare elements on lunar and other space bodies.
"Everything we fight about on Earth, all the resources are available in infinite quantities in space," Bob Richards, co-founder of Moon Express told npr.org. Moon Express said that this is just a start and that it will send several missions to space before beginning any mining.
Check the company's promotional video, below:
Earlier in 2013, Moon Express had collaborated with the International Lunar Observatory Association to launch ILO-X telescope by 2015, the Verge reported.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE will be awarded to a private company that lands on Moon. In order to win the prize, the spacecraft must land on the lunar surface, travel about "500 meters above, below, or on the Lunar surface" and send back two Moon-casts to Earth. To win additional prizes, the company can explore the moon's surface. The competition is on till December 31, 2015.
— Autodesk (@autodesk) December 6, 2013