During the Apollo days, it cost about $10 billion current-day dollars to send astronauts on a round trip flight to the moon. Back then, we made the trip for things like national pride, and to prove that our missiles were bigger than Russia's.
Today we have a new space race to the moon. There are officially 5 teams left in the $30 Million Google Lunar X-PRIZE. This is an international competition to see which private company can reach the moon first, move 500 meters across its surface and transmit high definition video and images back to Earth.
But the really exciting part is what happens after the competition. With resources like water ice and Helium-3, the moon is ripe for mining with a potential value of hundreds of trillions of dollars.
XPRIZE: Meet The 5 Teams That Are Launching To The Moon This Year
Washington Post: An audacious plan to mine the surface of the moon
ESA: Helium-3 Mining on the Lunar Surface