Basic Astronomy

Visit moon with your loved one for $1.5 billion

8 December 2012: Now you can visit Moon with your loved one for only $1.5 billion. Well, you need to wait till 2020 for the dream journey.

Golden Spike is a private company, launched by former NASA executives. Alan Stern is present Golden Spike president and CEO who is a former director of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Gerry Griffin, a former Apollo flight director and NASA Johnson Space Center director is also taking leading role in Golden Spike. On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the last human exploration of the Moon, Apollo 17, Gerry Griffin and Alan Stern announced plans to commercially send people to the Moon by 2020.

Moon mission
Artist's concept of a Golden Spike lunar lander (Image Credit: Golden Spike)

Each moon expedition mission will have four separate launches. During the first two, existing rockets would propel spacecraft and the lunar lander into the moon's orbit. The second two launches will bring the crew and cargo which will dock with the lander. Golden Spike's leaders hope that they will have enough customers to fly regular missions throughout the 2020s.

Alan Stern said that his company is planing to sell each Moon mission for about $1.5 billion. He further claimed that his company have already generated "real interest" among space agencies in European and Asian countries. He said, "we're selling to nations, corporations and individuals. Get in line - and I think it's going to be a long one". He further added, "we have spoken to space agencies from both Asian and European countries and found real interest".

Golden spike is targeting those countries which don't have their own space agencies or that can't afford to send people to the Moon independently. They are also looking for scientific organizations and even private individuals, who will be interested to take the trip of a lifetime.

The company still did not decided which launch vehicle or space capsule will be used to transport their passengers. Stern expects his company will be able to take the final decision on this matter by 2014.

To keep costs down, Golden spike is planing to partner with other private companies that have already developed rockets and capsules. It is likely that Golden Spike will use some existing or already under developed rockets and spacecraft to keep control of the cost of the mission. However, the company will need to make their own lunar lander and specially designed spacesuits.

"We realize this is science fiction. We intend to make it science fact," said Stern

It is interesting to see whether Golden spike can keep their exciting promises.

Golden Spike's announcement video preview

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