In this handout picture released late November 14, 2008, shows the surface of the moon taken by Moon Impact Probe shortly before landing after separation from India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.
A team of former NASA executives is launching a private venture to send people to the moon, priced at whopping 1.5 billion dollars. The newly formed business is offering countries a two-person trip to the moon, either for research or national prestige.
NASA's last trip to the moon was 40 years ago, and the United States was the only country that landed people there, beating the Soviet Union in a space race to the moon that transfixed the world. President Barack Obama also cancelled NASA's planned return to the moon, saying America had already been there, Fox News reports.
However, according to the report, the firm has talked to other countries like South Africa, South Korea, and Japan, revealed former NASA associate administrator Alan Stern, who is president of the new Golden Spike Company.
"It's not about being first. It's about joining the club. We're kind of cleaning up what NASA did in the 1960s. We're going to make a commodity of it in the 2020s,” Stern said. Stern said he's aiming for a first launch before the end of the decade and then up 15 or 20 launches total, the report said.
Dozens of private space companies have started up recently, but few if any will make it -- just like in other fields -- said Harvard astronomer Jonathan McDowell, who tracks launches worldwide, it added.