Lunar Mission One Aims to Crowdsource the Moon

Image Credit: Lunar Mission One

Lunar Mission One, a private effort aimed at drilling at least 20 meters deep into the Moon’s South pole was announced in London today. As with an increasing number of missions, inital funding is being sought through a crowd-sourced KickStarter campaign. In this case key incentives are a digital memory box and the opportunity to leave a DNA sample which could last “a billion years.”

As of press time it was already at 140,436 pound sterling of its 600,000 pound goal.

Press Release:

19 NOVEMBER 2014: London: Lunar Mission One, an ambitious and pioneering lunar mission, has been announced today. The mission is raising initial development funding through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, giving people from around the world the opportunity to support and be a part of the mission.

As overall technical advisors for the first stage of the project, Lunar Mission One has engaged RAL Space, which has been involved in developing more than 200 space missions and has supported NASA and European Space Agency missions.

Within 10 years, Lunar Mission One will land on the Moon’s South Pole. Using innovative new technology, the mission’s aim is to drill to a depth of at least 20 metres deep, but potentially as deep as 100 metres, allowing the mission to access and analyse for the first time lunar rock dating back around 4.5 billion years. Scientists anticipate that this mission will provide new and significantly advanced insights into the origins and evolution of the Moon and Earth. It will also tell us more about the practicality of a permanent manned base at the lunar South Pole.

Lunar Mission One is using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to fund the development phase of the project. Supporters who make pledges to the project via Kickstarter will become lifetime members of the Lunar Missions Club. They will have access to a range of information and experiences relating to the project, from ‘Meet the Experts’ events to the opportunity to have their
name inscribed on the lunar landing module.

Kickstarter backers will also receive rewards including a digital ‘memory box’ for inclusion in a 21st Century time capsule that will be sent to and buried in the Moon as part of Lunar Mission One.

Following the development phase, funded by Kickstarter, the remaining funding requirements of the project will primarily be met through sales of digital memory boxes to the general public, as well as through public sector and commercial backing.

Also included in the time capsule will be a publicly assembled, owned and authoritative record of life on Earth. This ‘public archive’ will include a record of human history and civilisation to date alongside a species database showing the biodiversity of animals and plants. The project will make the public archive available online both during development and afterwards so it can be
developed further. Education and inspiration are central to the mission, which aims to inspire a generation to learn more about space, science, engineering and technology through a worldwide programme of educational engagement. Educational
partners backing the project include The Institute of Education and the Open University. All surplus funds raised from the project will go to a non-profit charitable Trust for supporting future space science and exploration.

Note: It is nice to see a British enterprise entering the NewSpace arena in a bigger way. While there are already success stories such as Surrey Satellite Technology, and we are all holding out hope for Skylon, that nation’s decision to sit out much of the space era has always seemed terribly incongruous with its unique historical contribution to discovery in the age of sail.

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