If the mission is successful, Moon Express could become the first privately backed venture to achieve a soft lunar landing.
Moon Express was awarded $1m by Google this year as the only team shooting for the moon to flight test a prototype of its lander.
All of these companies are racing each other thanks to the Google Lunar X Prize, a $30 million incentive to send a robotic spacecraft to the moon by the end of 2017.
Pinkney explained the Super Moon moniker is given to the eclipse of a full moon while in perigee, meaning when it is closest to the earth, which only happens about every 18 years.
Sixteen groups stay within the operating for the Google Lunar X Prize, so the result stays very a lot up within the air. “Ancient people had all kinds of superstitions about the lunar eclipse, that it would have harmful effects, but thankfully we know now that isn’t the case”. The first team to do this – and have the craft move 1,640 feet (500 m) and beam high-definition video and images back to Earth as well – will win the $20 million grand prize.
The race to land the first private moon lander has been started after Moon Express signed a deal with Rocket Lab with an expected launch happening sometime in 2017. Both of those launches will aim to land the company’s MX-1 lander on the lunar surface. “It’s a sister world to Earth, so it’s a very convenient place for us to go and learn how to travel in space and expand the economic sphere of humanity outward”. Astrobotic representatives have said they plan to launch in 2016. The MX-1 landers will be small, too, but is scalable and can adapt to the company’s needs. “Moon Express has used advanced orbital mechanics to enable this mission from low-Earth orbit”, said Rocket Lab’s chief executive Peter Beck.
The Electron rocket is the more affordable option, costing $4.9 million per launch, as opposed to the $60 million being charged for a Falcon 9.
In conversation with The Verge however, the company says that there will not be any scientific data undertaken when it arrives, but will be a time capsule for any future moon explorers to look at, while also having pride in sending a rocket to the moon. Richard Branson’s LauncherOne, for example, is preparing to launch 200 kg (440 lb.), payloads for about $10 million per launch. The next full lunar eclipse is in January 2019 but Mike added that on July 27, 2018 the Moon will rise fully eclipsed at around 9.30pm.
“As the market responds, we will be able to provide the platforms to support the market”, Richards said.