In 10 years’ time, a group of British scientists and entrepreneurs plans to launch a spacecraft capable of not only exploring Moon’s surface, but also drilling deep into it. Lunar Mission One will also survey the lunar South Pole to see if there are any effective means of installing a permanent manned base there.
The British team intends to use only public donations to fund the lunar landing, and this could be the most ambitious crowdfunded project ever created.
In return for their contributions, donors would be able to have their photos, text and DNA samples included in a time capsule which will be buried deep under the lunar surface.
It may sound like the script from a SF movie, but Lunar Mission One received strong support from UK Academic Authorities, former Conservative science minister Ian Taylor, Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and UK Parliamentary Space Committee.
For starters, the British must raise £600,000 to get the project started and they will need an extra £3 billion to get the spaceship flying.
The mission starts raising the money through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, on November 19 with an initial target of $950k / £600k / €770k. On 17 December 2014 , the initial crowdfunding phase will end letting all the world see if the project can move forward.
Following the initial public phase, the remaining money needed to get Lunar Mission One off the ground will come through the sales of ‘digital memory boxes’. In this boxes, contributors can have their lives recorded by compressed photos, videos and short messages and taken to the Moon.
A short message will cost a few pounds, a photo a few tens of pounds, while a short compressed video will cost around £200. There’s the possibility of sending a hair sample, too. But this will cost an extra £50.
Also, included in the time capsule will be a record of human history which will survive even if our species becomes extinct.
Mr Iron believes that the mission will get all the more engaging, if people have a stake in it.
“Rather than just watching the mission, people can be directly involved, not just through funding but helping to make key decisions such as the selection of the landing site or what should be included in the public archive.”, Mr Iron told BBC News.
All the money raised through donations will serve in funding the mission. Any left over money will be deposited in a charitable trust and be spent on future space exploration.
“Ultimately, Lunar Mission One could become an exciting template for galvanizing additional resources to explore the Moon and beyond,” Ian Taylor, the Chair of Lunar Missions Ltd, said