Joining a new trend of companies who are attempting to prepare for privately-owned space exploration, a Florida company has received approval from the U.S. federal government to launch into space and head to the moon.

The Moon Express has been approved by the U.S. government to attempt a robotic lunar landing in 2017. Moon Express hopes that their lunar probe will be able to extract information about the location of valuable resources like water, rare minerals, and rare minerals.

Having previously only been achieved by governmental programs in the United States and other nations, the privilege of landing on the moon may soon be in the grasp of regular citizens.

It has been several decades since NASA has last landed on the moon, citing a lack of resources and a dearth of information yet to learn about the earth’s satellite. Nevertheless, many find themselves frustrated that they, too, can’t take the famous “one giant leap.”

There is a massive amount of red tape to wade through in the way of allowing private companies to attempt space travel – including international treaties on who can go to space and when. Though this company is only landing a robot rather than a real live human being, this is the next “small step” toward the goal of private, commercial space travel.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com