The rather ambitious plan aims to raise £500m—that's almost $800m—for the project via donations made by the public. The planned mission, known as Lunar Mission One, will set a robotic probe down on the moon's surface in ten years' time.
In returns for donations, members of the public will be able to place photos, text and their DNA sequences in a time capsule, which will be buried beneath the moon's surface. As well as, you know, kudos for helping a mission whose aim is to survey the Moon's south pole, to assess whether humans could ever live there.
The first funding goal, which is supposed to cover the initial stages of research and development, is a more modest £600,000. That's currently being raised on Kickstarter, where funding essentially buys digital storage in the time capsule: text will cost a few dollars, a photo tens of dollars, and a short video around $300. You can even send a sample of hair for $80. If that's your thing.
"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," explained David Iron, who's leading the project, to the BBC. Whether the future of space travel is crowdfunded remains to be seen. Maybe it's time to make a donation and see. [Lunar Missione One via BBC]
Image by Lunar Missione One/Raw Cut Television