A day before space exploration technology company SpaceX makes its much-hyped “big announcement”– the follow-up to a teaser video that looks oddly like a Mountain Dew commercial — another space-oriented company is creating buzz.

Moon Express, which is developing autonomous robotic lunar landers, announced today that Barney Pell has signed on as co-founder, vice chairman, and chief technology officer. Somehow, he will also continue on as chief architect of Bing local search.

“I’m still fully engaged with my day job at Bing,” Pell said in an email. “But this is definitely an exciting nights and weekends (literally moonlighting) job for me.”

Pell, you will remember, was the brains behind Powerset, the overhyped semantic search company whose technology now drives Bing. Microsoft purchased Powerset for an estimated $100 million in 2008. He was also an early investor in SpaceX, and the manager of a research team at NASA before he became a serial entrepreneur.

While Pell assures us that the Moon Express announcement has nothing to do with SpaceX’s big reveal, it seems likely that the companies might collaborate in the future. And, hey, what about a Moon Express and Bing collaboration? Might a semantic search engine find extraterrestrial life? Just sayin’.

[Image via dingopup/Flickr]