Astrobotic Technology, the private spaceflight company that delivers space robotics and planetary missions, is offering people the opportunity to send their prized possession to the moon. The program, appropriately named MoonMail, is now accepting orders online: https://www.astrobotic.com/moon-mail
The representatives of Astrobotic are currently chasing Google Lunar X Prize, a competition which will award 30 million dollars to the first privately funded team that successfully lands on the moon, travels 1650 feet, and sends images back to Earth. In the meantime, as they prepare for the voyage, representatives are giving the opportunity for Earthlings to purchase capsules, which can be filled and later transported to the moon during the company’s first lunar expedition sometime within the next two years.
“Today marks the beginning of a new kind of participant on the moon: the individual,” stated Astrobotic CEO John Thornton in a teleconference on Thursday. “MoonMail is a new offering allowing anyone in the world to purchase space on our lander and immortalize their important keepsake on the moon forever.”
The company will screen all items to ensure that they aren’t harmful to the spacecraft. According to Thornton, cultural sensitivities will also be taken into account.
For those interested, the smallest capsule can be purchased for $460, and measures 0.5 inches, or about 1.3 centimeters across. Other options include a 0.75-inch (1.9 centimeter wide) version for $820, and a 1-inch (2.5 centimeter wide) for $1,660. Prices can also vary depending on the height and volume.
As a contest prize, Astrobotic is also offering a free capsule to one lucky earthling. To enter, candidates must submit their best ideas for what they would send to the moon by December. The favorite answer will be chosen by Astrobotic representatives.
Lately, the race to space has influenced various private companies to take part in the moon craze. Lunar Mission One, “the most inspirational Moon project since the Apollo landings”, is another company that will also bury capsules beyond earth. For a pledge of £60 ($94) or more on Kickstarter, the company will “reserve your place in space”. Those interested will receive digital memory boxes to include private archives of text, photographs, music and video files — even physical strands of hair.