Capitalism in space: The Japanese company behind Japan’s Google Lunar X-Prize finalist, ispace, announced this week a major effort in the coming weeks to obtain investment capital for its proposed lunar mining projects planned for the next decade.
ispace’s website indicates the next phase beyond the prize competition involves prospecting the moon between 2018 and 2023. Missions will include “mapping valuable resources…to determine economic value of resources. Our rover swarms are deployed on the Moon to scout crater and cave locations on the lunar poles that have a high probability of resource discovery,” the company says. In the third phase from 2024 to 2030, the company plans to “work with our strategic partners to collect, store, and deliver these valuable resources to our government, institutional, scientific, and private space customers.”
Whether its team can win the X-Prize however remains unclear, since it is dependent on the same PSLV launch that the Indian X-Prize team is buying, and that team still needs to raise $35 million to pay for the launch.