PhotonQ-Barney Pell Moon Dreamer
Barney Pell... a moon dreamer...and working in the making.
I met with Barney last year in California. "Barney Pell co-founded the ambitious start-up Powerset in 2005 that aimed to upend the search engine market. It was later acquired by Microsoft for $100 million. Now Pell is back with a new start-up working on space exploration, Moon Express ." He is what you could call one of the Space 2.0 dude on Earth, a very friendly, interesting and curious mind, I am happy to have met and shared thoughts with, Merci =)
Moon Express intends to be the first private company to land on the moon. The company has received a grant from NASA that could be worth up to $10 million as part of the Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data program. The company is also competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition. It has also raised unspecified angel funding.
"The company intends to produce the figurative “last mile” of landing on the moon with a moon lander. Moon Express would use existing companies such as SpaceX to handle the rocket launch of the lander and then use its own technology to actually land on the moon.
"Pell actually worked for almost a decade for the NASA Ames Research Center before starting Powerset. He led a team of 80 people and worked on projects including NASA’s software for the Mars Exploration Rovers mission and the Remote Agent, the first artificial intelligence system to control a deep space probe.
Moon Express also intends to provide the delivering and deployment of payload on the moon for clients. This includes scientific experiments as well as the potential collection of materials such as precious metals. As an example, Pell pointed to platinum, a valuable commodity which is a critical part of catalytic converters for cars as well as clean-tech fuel cells.
Pell believes there is a major opportunity just in moon metals. That’s because, among other reasons, asteroids that travel to earth burn up in the atmosphere more than they do when they hit the moon."
One of the interesting thing that could come out of it is about Helium 3. Here is a cool and fun video about it Mining Helium-3 On the Moon
Ho and if you haven' t seen it yet, you HAVE to watch the excellent movie Moon (2009) by Duncan Jones, telling the story of Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource (helium-3) that has helped diminish our planet's power problems. GREAT MOVIE !!
“I think there may be more platinum on the surface of the moon than in all the mining reserves of the planet earth,” Pell said. Tomio Geron for Forbes Blog
"Inspired by new White House policies supporting increased government partnership with the commercial space sector, Moon Express, Inc. was formed as a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company to establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit.
Moon Express emerged quickly onto the commercial space scene in October when announced by NASA as one of six U.S. companies selected for its “ILDD” commercial lunar data program. Moon Express received further notoriety when announced by the X PRIZE Foundation as a new contender in the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE competition.
The company was founded by Barney Pell and his two co-founders: Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, a founder of International Space University, who serves as CEO, and philanthropist, entrepreneur, and visionary, Naveen Jain, who serves as company Chairman. All three Moon Express founders also work together as trustees of Singularity University based at the NASA Ames Research Park." crunchbase
Interesting update from Elon Musk at the same time, this week on : Why the US can beat China: The facts about SPACE X costs
Moon Express Announces First Successful Flight Test of Lunar Lander System Developed with NASA Partnership Silicon Valley, CA (June 30, 2011) - Moon Express, Inc. today announced a successful flight test of a prototype lunar lander system being developed in partnership with NASA...