KCBS_740 MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) — It been over 40 years since NASA last landed on the moon, but a Mountain View-based start-up is set to bring lunar exploration into the 21st century.

The company Moon Express has received the go-ahead from the U.S. Government to travel beyond the earth’s orbit and land on the moon.

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Co-founder and Chairman Naveen Jain says the approval represents the first step in private space exploration, and the company has big goals in mind, including a moon base, and using it for manned travel to other planets.

“Our goal is not only to bring back the resources for the benefit of humanity on planet earth, but also to be able to create a colony on the moon, and that will become a stepping stone to deeper space,” Jain said.

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Jain says the moon also represents a big business opportunity as it holds many needed resources, including water.

President Obama signed a law last year which allows Moon Express to explore, harvest, and own the resources it finds on the moon.

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Jain says the first flight is planned for late next year.