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World's first mission to the Moon's South Pole announced

Moon_071813.jpg

Artist's depiction of the ILO lunar telescopes that will be delivered by a Moon Express lander (Moon Express)

The world’s first mission to the South Pole of the Moon was announced Thursday, opening up the possibility that the public will be able to access images from the moon online.

The private enterprise mission, announced by the International Lunar Observatory Association and Moon Express, Inc., will be both scientific and commercial, and plans to deliver the International Lunar Observatory (ILO) aboard a Moon Express robotic lander. 

 The observatory is intended to establish a base for permanent astrophysical observations and a lunar commercial communications systems for researchers to utilize.

“We are very excited to announce that our second Moon mission will be to the lunar South Pole to deliver the International Lunar Observatory and to prospect for resources,” said Moon Express CEO Dr. Robert Richards.  “The mission will provide a historic landing in an unexplored region of the Moon that may harbor some of the greatest resource deposits in the solar system.”

If successful, the ILO will be the first private space telescope to operate from the lunar surface and be available to researchers, educators and the general public through the internet.

 It will allow them to access images from the surface of the Moon, and it is hoped that it will create a new model of “citizen science” public participation and international collaboration.

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