… private businesses may have the greatest incentive, and ability, to reach the moon. A company could set up a lunar outpost and pay for it by offering stays to government-funded researchers, commercial-lunar miners and even rich adventure-seekers pursuing the ultimate vacation. Such a firm could also sell rocket fuel to agencies and other entities sending ships or probes into deep space.
It could all be done for a reasonable price. A group of scientists, commercial entrepreneurs and visionaries concluded in the journal New Space that humans could return to the moon by 2022 for only $10 billion. New 3-D printing and waste recycling technology, along with robotics and commercial rockets, such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, have lowered the price tag to a fraction of what it took to land men on the moon decades ago.
Plenty of private companies also have leaders with the same drive that inspired the scientists who came before them. J.J. Abrams, the filmmaker best known for his remakes of space adventures like “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” has produced a collection of mini-documentaries called “Moon Shot.” The Web series tells the story of a real-life effort aimed at the moon, the Google Lunar X Prize. Teams are competing to be the first to land a probe on the lunar surface by the end of 2017.
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