Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa with the help of a TV show looking for a girlfriend for a joint flight to the moon.
The moon once again attracts scientists, billionaires, and entire countries. And they say that in the near future the Moon can become a serious source for earning money, the first space station for people and bring huge prospects in the sphere of space exploration.
Who’s planning the moon?
The U.S. and little money
At the end of 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives signed a document that would cost $600 million for NASA’s lunar mission, although the U.S. Aerospace Administration initially requested $1.4 billion.
Because of this, experts predict that American scientists will not be able to send their astronauts to the moon by 2024, as they had previously planned. “The mission did not die, but it is in critical condition. You can’t go to the moon without a lander,” said space policy expert John Logsdon of George Washington University.
When NASA astronauts flew to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the annual budget of the U.S. Aerospace Administration was more than 4% of the country’s total budget, and now the share of public money allocated to NASA is only 0.5%.
In 2019, for the first time in human history, China planted its Chang’e-4 probe on the back of the moon in the South Pole Aitken basin. China not only became the first country to hit the opposite side of the Moon but has been exploring areas that are not visible from the Earth’s surface for almost a year. The probe collects data on the surface of the reverse side of the moon, the structure of its upper and deep layers, which is necessary to understand how our natural satellite evolved and what is happening to it now.
On February 22, 2019, Bereshit was launched. This is the world’s first lunar rover launched with private money. The project was developed by the non-profit startup SpaceIL with the support of specialists of the Aerospace Industry of Israel. Bereshit flew to the moon for several weeks. Typically, flying to the moon takes much less time. As a result, Berestos made a hard landing on the Moon due to problems with the main engine.
It is the smallest lunar rover ever to land on the moon: it is slightly larger than a washing machine – 1.5 m in diameter and weighing 600 kilograms. There was a copy of the Torah on board.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised that the country will try to send the spacecraft back to the moon in a few years.
“If the first time did not work – try again”, – said the prime minister, who watched the crash live from the control center.
India plans to launch a new attempt at an unmanned flight to the moon in 2020. Indian authorities want the launch to take place in November 2020. In July 2019, India was preparing to become the fourth country in the world to successfully land on the surface of the Moon, and the first satellite to land on the south pole. But the Chandrayaan-2 module crashed in September 2019, crashing on landing.
Construction of a new launch module, lander, and ground-based rover will cost $35 million.
Musk and Travel
In early 2019, Elon Musk announced that his company SpaceX is preparing a commercial flight around the moon. The mission is scheduled for 2023. The rocket with a tourist will fly about 200 km from the Moon. The journey will last about a week.
The first space tourist will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. The 42-year-old businessman founded the country’s largest online clothing store, zozotown. Forbes estimates his fortune at $2.9 billion.
The lander will be able to deliver up to 3.6 tons of cargo to the Moon, with a fueled weight of about 15 tons in the base version, and up to 6.5 tons of cargo in the manned version with increased tanks. Hydrogen and oxygen will be used as fuel.
According to Blue Origin’s current development schedule, the base version of the lander will be ready to fly to the moon in 2023, and will probably deliver some equipment to the future astronaut landing site. The full version of Blue Moon with landers and take-offs will be tested in 2024 with astronauts on board, after which it will have to be directly landing people on the moon.