The world's first mission to the South Pole of the Moon was announced today by the International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and Moon Express, Inc. The private enterprise mission will be both scientific and commercial, and will deliver the International Lunar Observatory (ILO) to the Moon's South Pole aboard a Moon Express robotic lander, establishing permanent astrophysical observations and lunar commercial communications systems for professional and amateur researchers.
Moon Express will also utilize the mission to explore the Moon's South Pole for mineral resources and water. Lunar probes have provided compelling evidence of mineral and volatile deposits in the Moon's southern polar region where energy and resources may be abundant.
The ILO, with its 2-meter dish antenna, will be the world's first instrument to conduct international astrophysical observations and communications from the lunar surface, providing scientific research, commercial broadcasting and enabling Galaxy 21st Century education and "citizen science" on the Moon. The announcement was made during a NASA Lunar Science Institute conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
"The ILO will demonstrate the value of the Moon for scientific study of the Galaxy, Moon, Earth, Sun and Stars," said Steve Durst, founder and director of the ILOA and Space Age Publishing Company. "We are a global consortium of scientists, educators, entrepreneurs and visionaries who seek to establish a scientific presence on the Moon followed by human exploration and eventual settlement." Space Age Publishing Company, ILOA's commercial affiliate, intends to broadcast its Space Calendar weekly and Lunar Enterprise Daily via the ILO. ILOA expects that the South Pole mission could take place as early as 2016 and contribute to humanity's growth as a multi-world species.