Apollo 17 — the last manned mission to the Moon — a U.S. company called 'Golden Spike' announced that they will be offering commercial flights to the Moon by the year 2020.To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of
Golden Spike — named after the ceremonial last spike driven to join the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways to form the First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 — is a private company founded in 2010 by planetary scientist and former NASA executive Dr. Alan Stern with (according to their website) one objective in mind: "achieving affordable, reliable, and frequent human expeditions to the Moon."
"Our vision is to create a reliable and affordable, US-based commercial human lunar transportation system that enables the exploration of the moon, by humans from virtually any nation, or any corporation, or any individual wishing to accomplish objectives on the moon," said Gerald Griffin, a former flight director for the Apollo space program who sits on the Golden Spike board of directors.
The company plans to provide all the technology and resources for each flight, including crew training, the flight systems to get the crews to the moon and back, all mission operations from Earth, and they will even provide science experiments to be performed on the lunar surface. Each flight is planned to consist of a two person crew, staying for up to two days on the moon, and is estimated to cost $1.4 billion.
That price tag will put these flights out of the reach of most people, however governments from other countries, who have science objectives they wish to pursue on the Moon, could certainly start the ball rolling. Then, as with all things, the costs of these flights would come down in time, making it possible for more individuals to go on these trips.