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2020AD: Space tourists will be FOUND ON MOON

To the moon for $700m. Jupiter and Mars? Don't even ask

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A group of former NASA employees are planning to send two people to the Moon for $1.4bn as part of a new space tourism venture.

The newly launched Golden Spike Company wants to use existing rocket tech to get the mission off the ground before 2020.

The firm said the time was ripe for their business because of the private spaceflight sector's developments in suborbital space lines and private expeditions to the International Space Station.

"Golden Spike will exploit these advances, and others in the late stages of development, for commercial use, to offer human expeditions to the Moon at prices comparable to robotic flagship missions," the company's website says.

"By dramatically lowering costs—to levels that rival robotic science mission budgets—we’re going to open the Moon to expeditions by space and science agencies, corporations, and individuals from around the world."

To get tourists into space without the time-consuming task of teaching them to fly rockets, the whole thing will be automated and controlled from Earth.

The firm's chief, former NASA executive Dr Alan Stern, said it had already started a series of studies with aerospace companies to begin designs for the lunar lander, lunar space suits and surface experiment packages for its clients.

To start off, Golden Spike reckons that countries will want to launch scientific and prestige missions to the Moon as well as the odd loaded private citizen.

"We’re not just about America going back to the Moon; we’re about American industry and American entrepreneurial spirit leading the rest of the world to an exciting era of human lunar exploration,” Stern enthused.

“It’s the 21st century, we’re here to help countries, companies, and individuals extend their reach in space, and we think we’ll see an enthusiastic customer manifest developing.” ®

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