Moon Express Chairman Naveen Jain has had a historic week. The small Florida-based startup got permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to send a robotic lander to the moon, the first-ever private company to secure the go-ahead.
The billionaire entrepreneur has lofty goal for the company. "Rephrasing John F. Kennedy, we choose to go to the moon not because it’s easy, but because it’s a good business," Jain said to the New York Times. "Everything we fight over — whether it’s land or it’s fresh water, whether it is energy — is in abundance in space."
The company's goal is to land the spacecraft on the moon in 2017 and explore the moon for valuable resources that experts estimate could be worth in the trillions of dollars, according to CNBC. The outlet reported those resources include "vast amounts of iron ore, water, rare Earth minerals and precious metals, as well as carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and helium-3, a gas that can be used in future fusion reactors to provide nuclear power without radioactive waste."
"This simply shows that every company can achieve their moon-shot," Jain told TechCrunch about getting the go-ahead to attempt their first moon landing.
On Jain's personal website he describes himself as a "man who knows no limits" and "pushes big dreams into action, spurring massive cultural and technological change." He was best known for founding InfoSpace, a company that ended up mired in controversy and insider-trading allegations while investors lost truckloads of money when Infoprice's stock price collapsed. Jain was pushed out in 2002 amid allegations he misled investors. He later founded Intelius, which had a dubious reputation at its outset as well. But he ultimately sold the company that makes it easier to search criminal records for some $100 million. Jain has continued to be a serial entrepreneur and founded BlueDot last year, aimed a developing new energy and medical technologies.
Jain believes deep space will soon be come a place for private companies. Moon Express is just the beginning and that we can't even imagine yet exactly how companies will profit off of space. He compared it with the iPhone App Store opening up opportunities for companies worldwide.
"We just don’t know what the Pokemon Go or the Snapchat of the space industry is yet," he told TechCrunch.