In about 10 years, UK space company Lunar Missions Ltd plans to send a rocket into Earth’s orbit and land a spacecraft on the moon.
To do so, it’s raising money on Kickstarter — and just passed its first funding target of £600,000.
The organisation says Lunar Mission One is a “new lunar mission for everyone”; the project is entirely crowdfunded and supported by loads of top scientists. Or at least famous scientists, like physicist Stephen Hawking, TV’s Professor Brian Cox, and Prof. Ian Crawford of University College London, who have all pledged their allegiance.
The mission’s main purpose is to drill on the moon. The team wants to send an unmanned robotic landing module to an area called the South Pole, which hasn’t been explored before. Once there, a massive drill will bore down at least 20 metres and bring back material for analysis.
LML explains that by doing so, rock dating back up to 4.5 billion years will help better uncover the “geological composition” of the moon.
“Ultimately, the project will improve scientific understanding of the early solar system, the formation of our planet and the moon, and the conditions that initiated life on Earth,” the Kickstarter page reads.
The £600,000 figure won’t send anything into space. But it does finance the initial project management and programme planning, LML writes. It’s a big step forward.
Here’s the full timeline:
There are multiple stages to the Kickstarter campaign. Predominantly, the aim is to reach a global audience and get millions involved. By tapping in to a worldwide population with a growing interest in space travel and research, LML wants to deliver a projected revenue of £3 billion.
Part of the scheme is to improve knowledge and understanding of space around the world. If another £100,000 is raised, a development phase focused on an e-commerce platform will “enable ongoing reservations of digital memory boxes”. These capsules (£60 a pop) are a main hook for the public to get involved — the chance to send a piece of personal, human history to the moon. They will be deposited into the hole that gets drilled.
If a £1 million target is reached, LML will launch its “Lunar Missions Club”, which will, among other things, let exclusive members view the mission landing from a control centre (this costs £5,000). And £1.5 million will grant the company the chance to take a “leading role” in World Space Week 2015.
We’ll keep an eye on this as the project develops. In the meantime, here’s a cool video from LMO:
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