As we commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Apollo moon landing this week, it’s worth asking what happened to those old dreams of lunar colonies and missions to Mars. NASA is reportedly struggling thanks to a general lack of interest and, it claims, funding. But, even with USD$187 billion, their Project Constellation is unlikely to reach the moon before 2020. The best hope right now seems to be driven by the private sector: Google’s USD$30 million Lunar X PRIZE and one of its most promising contenders, Odyssey Moon, which has announced plans to become the first private company to supply payload delivery services to the Moon.
December 12, 2007 Odyssey Moon has become the first team to complete registration for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, unveiling its plans for a history making private robotic mission to reach the surface of the Moon with a small robotic lander designed to deliver scientific, exploration and commercial payloads.