Where did the moon come from? Lunar Mission One, “the most inspirational Moon project since the Apollo landings,” seeks to answer this question by sending an unmanned robotic lander to the moon. The expedition will utilize innovative technology to drill at least 20m (and up to 100m) below the moon’s surface. By doing so, scientists will be able to examine an unexplored area, and access lunar rock dating back to as early as 4.5 billion years ago.
In order to fund the project, Lunar Mission Ltd – the British company behind the venture – is turning to Kickstarter for help. The initial phase of a 10-year long preparation period will require $950,000 in funding, which will finance the marketing, design and development of the mission; closer to $1 billion dollars is need to actually carry out the expedition.
Regardless, the project certainly has peaked the public’s interest by offering some unique perks. For a pledge of £60 ($94) or more, Lunar Mission One will “reserve your place in space”. To do so, the probe, which is expected to launch in 2024, will carry with it an array of time capsules to be buried on the moon. The capsules – or “digital memory boxes”, will include private archives of text, photographs, music and video files — even physical strands of hair.
A number of institutions around the globe will also work together to compile a “public archive” containing a history of civilization and a survey of Earth’s biosphere. According to the project backers, this information will be accessible online for use as an educational tool.
By rallying support from crowd funding campaigns, “anyone from around the world can get involved,” said David Iron, Founder of Lunar Missions Ltd.
“Instead of getting a small number of entities — space agencies — spending large amounts of money, we’re getting a very large number of entities — people around the world — spending small amounts of money and turning the funding model upside down,” he continues.
“[The mission] will make a huge contribution to our understanding of the origins of our planet and the moon, and will inspire a generation to learn more about space, science and engineering — in the same way that my generation was inspired by the Apollo moon landings.”