Moon Express, the Silicon Valley-based company that wants to extract natural resources from the Moon has just finished a $20 million financing round.

With his new development, the company has bagged a net of $45 million in funding for its maiden attempt at sending off a lunar lander. Moon Express is a participant in Google’s Lunar Xprize that promises to pay $30 million to whichever firm manages to land a rover on the moon. The only criteria are the winning rover must travel at least 500 meters on the lunar surface and transmit HD images back to Earth.

moon express

Moon Express’s original goals include bringing back “precious resources, metals, and moon rocks” to Earth. The company’s CEO Bob Richards recently described Earth’s closest companion on the cosmos the “unexplored eighth continent”.

“We now have all the resources in place to shoot for the moon,” Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards said in a statement, according to a Florida Today report.

“Our goal is to expand Earth’s social and economic sphere to the Moon, our largely unexplored eighth continent, and enable a new era of low-cost lunar exploration and development for students, scientists, space agencies and commercial interests.”

Moon Express was co-founded by Naveen Jain, Robert Richards, and Barney Pell in 2010 and it was the first ever company to have received clearance from the US government for a Moon mission.

As of today, the company is trying to raise another $10 million as part of its “contingency” plans to provide support for future missions. Apart from that, Moon Express also harbors the dream of developing the necessary framework that would enable it to offer low-cost lunar travels for scientific purpose, and possibly tourist trips too.