Friday, October 21, 2011

Indian-born Entrepreneur and Billionaire Moves Forward on Plans to Mine the Moon

A long way from Uttar Pradesh.
From Fox News:

Meet the Man Who Wants to Mine the Moon
The moon is made of far more valuable stuff than green cheese. And one man wants to capitalize on that fact.
NASA, which ended America's space shuttle program in June, says it wants to privatize spaceflight. Naveen Jain, co-founder and chairman of Moon Express, Inc., wants to go a step further: He wants to privatize the moon itself.

Jain's company plans to piggyback on private shuttle flights, using them to carry his lunar landers and mining platforms to the moon.

"People ask, why do we want to go back to the moon? Isn't it just barren soil?" Jain told "But the moon has never been explored from an entrepreneurial perspective."

Green cheese indeed -- there's cash in them lunar hills!

Our nearest neighbor in the sky holds a ransom in precious minerals, Jain explained: Twenty times more titanium and platinum than anywhere on earth, not to mention helium 3, a rare isotope of helium that many feel could be the future of energy on Earth and in space.

Beyond mineral resources, Jain imagines a variety of ways to capitalize on the public's lunar love.

"No one has ever captured people's fascination with the moon," he told "What if, say, we take a picture of your family on the moon and project it back to you? Or take DNA up there?"

His company, which calls itself MoonEx, was awarded a contract as part of NASA's $10 million Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) program, and is shooting for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize as well. Jain believes the NASA contract will allow his company to start mining operations on the moon, something he says MoonEx can do as soon as 2013. 

"Perpetual ownership of private or government assets in space or on other bodies is a well defined, documented and practiced aspect of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty,” explained company CEO Bob Richards in a recent blog post....MORE
HT: Reason's Hit&Run blog

Our securities attorny readers may remember Mr. Jain from his InfoSpace days.