Elon Musk, European Rocket Scientists Plan to Make First Private Moon Landing in 2018

The first private Moon landing could be made by a group of European scientists next year.

A group of rocket engineers called PTScientists (Part-time Scientists), has built a landing module and two rovers, which are expected to launch in 2018 on board Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The landing module will be programmed to touch down in the Taurus-Littrow valley, around two miles from the site of the final Apollo 17 mission.

It will deploy two rovers with the aim of tracking down Nasa’s moon buggy which was left behind by Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon.

The team is keen to find out how well the buggy has survived on the lunar surface for more than four decades and, if successful, it will mark 46 years since humans drove on another world.

The site was also chosen because pictures taken by the Apollo 17 team show it is flat, with few stones to slow down the rovers, which are packed with scientific equipment to carry out tests.

On Sunday the group announced it had teamed up with British telecommunications giant Vodafone who will provide the high-speed link up to Earth for the mission.

“This is a crucial first step for sustainable exploration of the solar system” said Robert Boehme, the chief executive of PTScientists.

“In order for humanity to leave the cradle of Earth, we need to develop infrastructures beyond our home planet.

“With Mission to the Moon we will establish and test the first elements of a dedicated communications network on the Moon.”

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