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Private company to offer rides to moon by 2020

Golden Spike says it hopes to sell missions to the moon for over $1 billion.

Image

This undated image made available by NASA and photographed by the Expedition 28 crew aboard the International Space Station, shows the moon, at center with the limb of Earth near the bottom transitioning into the orange-colored troposphere, the lowest and most dense portion of the Earth's atmosphere.

NASA/AP

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A new private venture aims to sell manned trips to the moon by 2020, its founders announced today (Dec. 6).

The company, called Golden Spike (after the final spike built into the First Transcontinental Railroad), plans to sell each moon mission for about $1.5 billion — a relative bargain, said the company's president and CEO Alan Stern, a former director of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

For the same price as many unmanned robotic missions, Golden Spike will provide a round trip for two humans to the moon.

"We're selling to nations, corporations and individuals," Stern told SPACE.com. "Get in line — and I think it's going to be a long one." [How Golden Spike's Moon Landing Plan Works (Infographic )]

Stern and Golden Spike's chairman of the board of directors, Gerry Griffin, a former Apollo flight director and NASA Johnson Space Center director, announced their plans today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Shopping for a rocket

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