It’s unfortunately no big news that NASA is severally under-funded. As famous astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has consistently pointed out, this is a problem that both political parties share, and it has lead to other countries like China to develop space programs that are on their way towards passing us.
With budget cuts and fiscal policies focused on other matters, perhaps the future of United States space exploration ultimately lies in private companies. As we have seen with the immense popularity of Space X, there are entrepreneurs willing to invest in the next frontier, and such is the case with Moon Express. Remembered for being a contender in Google’s Lunar X competition, Moon Express, founded in California by Barney Pell, Robert D. Richards, and Naveen Jain, will officially be the first private company to launch a lunar expedition.
The company had submitted a request for approval to various public sector departments that dictate the sky, including the FAA, Department of Defense, and of course NASA. As the US is a signatory of the Outer Space Treaty, all companies within its landscape are required to abide by its rules, namely that no ownership claims be made to Luna.
Moon Express has set a 2017 launch date for their expedition. We wish them the best of luck and hope this convinces the Federal Government to retake the initiative when it comes to space exploration.