December, 17 2015
‘If there is one thing I have learned on this incredible journey we call life, it is this: the sign of a truly successful individual is humility’: so declares Naveen Jain, the space entrepreneur who will open the fifth edition of the Tecnhnology Forum in Milan, on May 20 2016.
But his ‘incredible journey’ has been always driven to the highest aim: to solve the world’s biggest challenges through innovation.
With his start up Moon Express he is developing a robotic lunar lander to explore and mine the moon for planetary resources, while with the company named BlueDot he’is focused on bringing most promising technological innovations from the national labs, NASA and elite universities and supercharging them with great entrepreneurs to create successful enterprises that tackle humanity’s grand challenges.
Moon Express rockets are now closer to planned lunar landing, thanks to the deal they’ve signed a few weeks ago with Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab for three robotic lunar craft launches starting in 2017. And thanks to two important grants: Moon Express has recently won more than $500,000 under NASA’s Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data Program and $1.25 million as a part of Google’s Lunar XPRIZE competition, which will award $30 million to the first company that lands a commercial spacecraft on the moon, travels 500 meters across its surface and sends high-definition images and video back to Earth.
ASA and Google have more than $60 million in possible awards, as a stake for the first commercial space company on the moon.
Quite a challenging target, for an engeneer who was born in India and grew up in a poor family: Naveen Jain also earned there an MBA, then he moved to the United States. Initially working for several tech companies, he accepted a job at Microsoft in 1989 and founded InfoSpace in 1996, in order to create an initial public offering like the one for NetScape Communications he saw at Microsoft.
That was just the beginning: step by step Naveen Jain is now dealing with commercial lunar landings, and there – up to the moon – he will push the vision of the TechnologyForum 2016.