Independently Sponsored Space Telescope to launch to Moon, Deliver Galaxy Imagery
|The ILO-X prototype captured this deep sky image of the North American Nebula, roughly 1,800 light-years away, containing clusters of young stars about one million years old. Courtesy of International Lunar Observatory Association|
A global demonstration of the International Lunar Observatory precursor instrument (ILO-X) was conducted by ILOA and Moon Express and hosted by the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope during the late hours of July 23 from the summit of Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii.
Astronomers from Hawaii, USA mainland, Canada, China, Japan and Europe were part of this pioneering demonstration of international collaboration in space exploration enabled through the commercial space sector, accessing the instrument over the internet and operating it as if it were on the Moon, capturing Galaxy Center first light and images of deep sky objects inside and outside of our Milky Way Galaxy.
"The primary goal of the International Lunar Observatory is to expand human understanding of the Galaxy and Cosmos through observation from our Moon," said ILOA founder and director, Steve Durst. "We are very encouraged by our Global Demonstration and are excited about sending the ILO-X to the Moon."
The ILOA also has announced its intention to solidify its presence on Hawai'i Island with development of an international headquarters / research center in Waimea beginning in 2012. Preparations for the flight of the ILO-X to the Moon is provided by Moon Express, a commercial lunar transportation company based at the NASA Research Center in Silicon Valley.
Moon Express has designed and is building the ILO-X as the first independently developed astronomical telescope that will operate on the Moon, looking out at the Galaxy and heavens beyond and back at the Earth. About the size of a shoe-box, the ILO-X is using leading edge optical and imaging technology to deliver dramatic and inspiring deep sky pictures of Galactic and Extragalactic objects.
"We're thrilled to be part of the ILO team reaching for the Moon," said Moon Express co-founder and CEO, Bob Richards.
The ILO-X is a precursor to the permanent installation of a larger and more powerful International Lunar Observatory at the South Pole of the Moon. ILOA and Moon Express are establishing a Joint Venture Agreement for the South Pole mission, currently in planning. The ILO missions are expanding the model of commercial space investment to the South Pole of the Moon to do science, education, exploration and commercial activities — such as Lunar Broadcasting of Space Calendar and Lunar Enterprise Daily through affiliated Space Age Publishing Company.
About ILOAThe ILOA is an interglobal enterprise incorporated in Hawaii as a 501(c)(3) non-profit to help realize the multifunctional ILO — to advance human knowledge of the Galaxy and Cosmos through observation from our Moon, and to participate in lunar base build-out. The ILOA also co-sponsors with Space Age Publishing Company affiliate an international series of Galaxy Forums to educate and inspire people about Galaxy 21st Century Education and the wonders of the Cosmos. For more information, visit: www.iloa.org
About Moon ExpressSelected by Forbes as one of the '15 Names You Should Know' in 2011, Moon Express (MoonEx) is a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company based at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. The company plans to send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development focused on benefits to Earth and has signed a partnership agreement with NASA for development of a lunar lander system.
The Moon Express founders, Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, Naveen Jain and Dr. Barney Pell, believe in the long-term economic potential of the Moon to produce resources essential to humanity's future on Earth and in space. For more information, visit: www.moonexpress.com