A Russian company wants to build a manned base on the moon and announced recently that it has the resources and capabilities to do just that.
The privately owned company, Lin Industrial, believes they can construct the base for less than $10 billion. That includes the first stages of a lunar outpost, followed by a second facility that would be manned by two and then, later, four humans. Lin Industrial expects that constructing and deploying the base will take around 10 years.
The company proposes that a location near the moon's south pole, known as Malapert Mountain, would be their construction site for the lunar base.
According to Lin Industrial, building a lunar base is no easy feat and requires at least 37 rocket launches to carry parts to the surface of the moon. The launches alone would take probably over five years.
The base, however, is less of a base, and more of a small village, of only up to four people. There's also a chance that this claim by Lin Industrial is just big talk. Lin Industrial's head is Sergei Burkatovsky, one of the creators of online game World of Tanks. He's only invested about $176,000 in the project so far. Lin Industrial states it needs around $200,000 just for the first prototype rocket and another $13.5 million just to test launch it.
However likely Lin Industrial's Lunar Base actually is, there is at least one more lunar project with more steam behind it. Lunar Mission One, another privately-run project aimed at the moon, recently raised over $1 million for the first phase of its mission on Kickstarter. That project also has the backing of RAL Space, an organization that has helped both NASA and the ESA develop over 200 missions, including the ESA's recent history-making Rosetta mission.
Lunar Mission One's goal includes landing a rover on the moon's south pole within ten years. The idea is to drill into the moon's surface and collect samples of lunar rock we've never seen before. This is just the first mission in what the organization behind the project thinks could lead to an eventual manned base there.
"Lunar Mission One will make a huge contribution to our understanding of the origins of our planet and the Moon and will inspire a generation to learn more about space, science and engineering - in the same way that my generation was inspired by the Apollo Moon landings," says David Iron, Founder of Lunar Missions Ltd and the Lunar Missions Trust.
Regardless of who gets there first, there is certainly a renewed interest in the moon, so we're sure to see more lunar-targeted projects announced as 2015 progresses.
[Photo Credit: NASA]