None other than the staid, respectable business publication Forbes suggests that the next lunar expedition after 2013 will not be launched by a government at all, but will be a private venture by a company called Moon Express. The company plans to place a rover on the moon by the end of 2015 as part of the Google Lunar X Prize Competition.
Moon Express' goals go beyond just winning the $20 million dollars that being the first private group to land on the moon will entail. The company plans to exploit the trillions of dollars worth of natural resources that the moon contains, including platinum group metals, gold, and water ice, the latter of which would help fuel space exploration and colonization. Forbes suggests that the moon is the "next emerging market" with the plus that there is no government upheaval or social instability on the moon to mess things up."
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