Commercial Space Race: Private Companies Are Moonstruck

NASA is no longer producing their own lunar missions, but is supporting a number of corporate projects.

Traces of the moon rover through a crater on the Moon, the planet earth in the background, 3D render. (Vitaly Kusaylo/Getty Images).
Getty Images/iStockphoto

NASA’s moon ambitions have long been dormant, but a new generation of private companies hoping to make their own moon landings are making progress. Though only the US, the Soviet Union, and China, have ever had successful lunar landings, companies like Astrobotic, Israel’s SpaceIL, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are all trying to send landers to the moon over the next five years.

No company has ever successfully landed a craft on the moon, but the proliferation of such corporate projects suggest that that may change soon. The profit potential for companies lies in their ability to bring hardware to the moon, mine resources, and possibly convert the moon’s ice into something usable.

This rise is connected to a significant decrease in government efforts to reach the moon. Under Trump, NASA has shifted its focus away from its own voyages and toward supporting private companies in their missions, which could begin as early as 2019.

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