More than 50 years after President Kennedy challenged the nation to go to the moon a Bay Area startup is now taking on a new mission to the lunar surface.
This type of space exploration has never been done before.
The landmark decision by the United States government will send a private company to deep space for the very first time. Until now, only governments have taken missions to the moon. No humans would go on this mission, just an unmanned spacecraft.
ABC7 News spoke with Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards via Skype. He's in Cape Canaveral where they're now based.
"This is the time when humanity is leaving the shores of Earth and all of the future will look back at this moment as the time we became a space-faring species," said Moon Express CEO Bob Richards.
He describes the robotics space craft the size of a washing machine. It will hop around the moon's surface taking pictures and video. Richards says they want to explore the moon because there's trillions of dollars of resources that could benefit Earth.
"We are going to develop new resources, new energy. And all of these things are going to be very important to us as a growing species," Richards said.
The vision of Moon Express is to start commercial lunar exploration. The maiden voyage is scheduled for late 2017.
Bay Area startup plans to visit surface of moon