HOUSTON, Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Moon Express, Inc., a lunar resources company, announced today that leading planetary scientists Dr. Paul Spudis and Dr. Jack Burns have joined the company to assist its plans to explore the Moon for precious resources. Dr. Spudis, an outspoken advocate of using lunar resources to develop the Moon and cislunar space, has joined Moon Express as its Chief Scientist, a part-time role established in collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, where he is a Senior Staff Scientist. Dr. Jack Burns, Director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute's Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR) and named to NASA's Advisory Council in 2008, has also joined Moon Express in a part-time capacity as chair of the company's Science Advisory Board, focused on scientific and resource utilization goals and prospects for Moon Express.
The announcement was made during meetings of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation taking place in Houston, Texas, by Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards, who serves as Vice-Chair of the CSF's Space Resources Committee. "I am very happy to see the lunar science community embracing the opportunities of commercial lunar exploration," said Richards. "The science leadership of Paul Spudis and Jack Burns will help us plan our robotic missions to maximize results for the lunar science community and our commercial interests."
"I'm happy to report that there are signs of 'life' about our future on the lunar frontier," said Paul Spudis, noting an upwelling of international interest in the Moon in his Smithsonian Air & Space blog series, The Once and Future Moon.
Moon Express has hosted a series of intensive lunar science workshops to assess the scientific evidence for platinum group metals and other resources deposited on the Moon through eons of asteroid bombardment, and the advisability and technical feasibility of mining and recovering the materials for use on Earth and in space. Mounting evidence suggests that Earth's accessible reserves of precious metals like gold and platinum are the result of asteroid bombardment from space. Additional evidence suggests that unlike Earth, the Moon may have held significant amounts of these precious metals on or near its surface. Because the Moon is so close to Earth, it can be explored and mined with known technologies, and also has known reserves of water, which can be used for rocket fuel and life support.
"The pay dirt of the solar system has been right above us all along," said Moon Express co-founder and Chairman, Naveen Jain. "We are now looking at the Moon as entrepreneurs and recognizing massive economic opportunity to improve our life on Earth and our future in space."
While pursuing the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE announced by Larry Page and Peter Diamandis in 2007, Moon Express also plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development. Moon Express will next focus on bringing lunar soils and its mineral resources into Earth's economic sphere to catalyze humanity's future in space.
ABOUT MOON EXPRESS
Selected by Forbes as one of the '15 Names You Should Know' in 2011, Moon Express (MoonEx) is a privately funded lunar resources company created to establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit. The company is partnered with NASA for lunar lander development and is engineering a series of low-cost robotic missions to the Moon for commercial and government customers, with a long term goal of locating and developing lunar resources for use in space and on Earth. Moon Express won a $10M commercial lunar contract from NASA in 2010 and is a leading contender in the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE competition for the first private team to land a robot on the Moon.
The Moon Express founders, Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, Naveen Jain, and Dr. Barney Pell, believe in the long term economic potential of the Moon to produce resources essential to humanity's future on Earth and in space.
For more information, visit: www.moonexpress.com
SOURCE Moon Express, Inc.