Private company could put station on moon in 2010

ILO
The International Lunar Observatory could serve as
a communication relay as well as a radio astronomy station.

Alan Boyle reports on the private sector’s potential role in moon ventures.

A reasonable investment already is being made by a private group for putting telescopes on the moon for scientific purposes, much in the way that private investors have built many of the large telescopes in the world.

That group is the International Lunar Observatory Association, which is still being organized by Space Age Publishing’s Steve Durst. The concept calls for sending a 10-foot-high (3-meter-high) probe, equipped with a radio dish antenna as well as communication and power-generating equipment, to the lunar surface.  Durst told MSNBC.com that the likeliest site would be Malapert Mountain near the lunar south pole.

Based on two feasibility studies conducted by California-based SpaceDev, the mission could be done for $50 million, with a target date in the 2010 time frame, Durst said. A “founders’ meeting” for potential funders is being planned for this November, he said.

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