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  • Private Lunar Telescope to Offer Views of Earth and Space Online

Photonics.com
May 2013
SILICON VALLEY, Calif., May 29, 2013 — The first privately sponsored telescope, set to launch to the moon in 2015, will pioneer an era of global space research, enabling the public to access images from the surface of the moon on the Internet.

The International Lunar Observatory precursor telescope (ILO-X), designed and built under an International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) contract by Moon Express Inc. of Silicon Valley, will capture never-before-seen images of the galaxies, stars, planets, moon and Earth that will be accessible to educators, researchers and the general public in an experiment to democratize access to space exploration.

“The primary goal of the International Lunar Observatory is to expand human understanding of the galaxy and cosmos through observation from our moon,” said Steve Durst, ILOA founder and director. “We are extremely excited about sending the ILO-X to the moon as soon as possible, and continuing our progress toward a permanent human presence on the moon.”

ILO-X flight engineering test unit, designed and built for the International Lunar Observatory Association by Moon Express Inc.
ILO-X flight engineering test unit, designed and built for the International Lunar Observatory Association by Moon Express Inc. Courtesy of PRNewsFoto/International Lunar Observatory Association and Moon Express Inc.

ILOA unveiled flight test hardware for the telescope at the ILOA Galaxy Forum Canada 2013, held May 25 at the British Columbia Institute of Technology Aerospace Technology Campus in Vancouver. The instrument also will be actively demonstrated June 1 during the Singularity University/Fox Studies “Backstage Pass to the Future” event in Los Angeles.

The ILO-X Internet-based access and control system was tested Dec. 18-20, 2011, during a global demonstration from the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, hosted by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, when science teams and individuals from around the world accessed and operated a prototype of the instrument as if it were on the moon.

The device is expanding the commercial space investment model to the moon to do science, education, exploration and commercial activities such as Lunar Broadcasting of Space Calendar through affiliated Space Age Publishing Co.

Moon Express designed, built and delivered ILO-X flight hardware to ILOA, and in 2015 will deliver the device to the moon. About the size of a shoebox with a mass of about 2 kg, the ILO-X uses innovative optical technology in combination with advanced software and microminiaturized electronics to deliver deep-space images of objects inside and outside our Milky Way galaxy. The technology also could help detect dangerous asteroids and search for planetary resources.

“We’re excited to help the ILOA design, build and deliver the world’s first private telescope to the moon,” said Bob Richards, co-founder and CEO of Moon Express. “This is inspirational space science and entrepreneurship at its best.”

The ILO-X is a precursor to the permanent installation of a larger, more powerful International Lunar Observatory at the South Pole of the moon and other interglobal initiatives by ILOA and affiliated Space Age Publishing.

In September 2012, ILOA signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC), to establish a cooperative program to conduct galaxy astronomical imaging for global 21st century education using China’s Chang’e 3 lunar lander (scheduled for launch in late 2013). The exchange will give NAOC observation time on the ILO-X and ILO-1 mission instruments.

For more information, visit: www.moonexpress.com or www.iloa.org


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