MoonExpress is a « privately funded commercial space company created to develop and mine the resources of the Moon and further space exploration. ». This company was founded by the serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Naveen Jain and will be this year one of the first private companies, if not the first, to have the right to go to the moon!
Innovation Time had the possibility to interview him and go through his thoughts on our world, on technology and talk about the future.
From space technology to ethical dilemmas, from economy to philosophy, to the concept of abundance, Naveen Jain has shown us innovative solutions and paths to make our world a better place and bring peace to the world.
What does it mean to go to the moon?
Going to the moon is symbolic in a lot of sense. Landing on the moon makes us the first private company to ever achieve this. But it shows that a small group of people are now capable of doing things that were only done by superpowers before.
To some extents, my hope is that these events on the moon will inspire everyone watching it be able to go out and find others moonshots. These people will think “Oh my god, if that is possible, what else is possible?”.
You must have passed many difficult barriers to achieve this. What were the main barriers that you faced?
You know, it’s not a technological challenge in a sense that is is something we did fifty years ago. It is rocket science, but it is well-understood rocket science. The real challenge is: “How do you do it at a price point that is affordable ?”. The first time we lent on the moon it cost us 25 billion dollars. Now our mission to the moon is: be under 10 million dollars. And that to me, is the fundamental differences of how we can take advantage of exponential technologies that are allowing us to make it better, faster, cheaper. Exactly what technology is supposed to do!
We’ve seen many companies in space engineering (Branson, to name only one). Many billionaires try to undertake in this field. Is it a philosophy? Or a challenge to solve, for example, to prevent a « Human race extinction » as it is written on your LinkedIn profile?
There are many great challenges facing humanity. One of the biggest: we could all be wiped out! For example, our blue dot could be hit by an asteroid. And the only other thing that kills us all is aging. My hope is that these are two problems to solve. That aging could be made optional. Then if we can solve them, we can start looking at other problems like poverty, food supplies (agriculture, water), energy.
You chose the Moon instead of Mars (Elon Musk choice, ndlr), why?
Living on the moon has the same problems as living on Mars: high radiation, very large temperature difference, low gravity. Then what? If you have any problems, you want to come back quickly. And to learn on the moon is a better playing ground than Mars is.
Let’s talk about economics and ethics. Do you think that exploiting resources on another planet will need to have some ethical basis? It could also raise tension between nations for the control of these resources.
That kind of thinking comes from the mindset that things are scarce. So, you start thinking about holding and owning resources because you believe they are so scarce. You and I could be sitting in the same room or on the same planet and we don’t talk about oxygen, we don’t say “Oh my god we need to have an international treaty about why this country is breathing more oxygen than another” (laughs). And that mindset is called abundance. When you think on this way, you stop valuing or fighting for materials. This is the first time that we can bring world peace. Remember that we are a tiny blue dot in our galaxy, imagine billions of galaxies!
Now imagine billions of solar systems, billions of galaxies! My point is: if you can create an abundance of energy, an abundance of water, an abundance of land, maybe that could bring world peace. And that mindset of abundance is what we need.
Last modified: 1 avril 2017