Lunar Mission One, an ambitious and pioneering lunar mission, has been announced today. The mission is raising initial development funding through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, giving people from around the world the opportunity to support and be a part of the mission.
As overall technical advisors for the first stage of the project, Lunar Mission One has engaged RAL Space, which has been involved in developing more than 200 space missions and has supported NASA and European Space Agency missions.
Within 10 years, Lunar Mission One will land on the Moon's South Pole. Using innovative new technology, the mission's aim is to drill to a depth of at least 20 metres deep, but potentially as deep as 100 metres, allowing the mission to access and analyse for the first time lunar rock dating back around 4.5 billion years. Scientists anticipate that this mission will provide new and significantly advanced insights into the origins and evolution of the Moon and Earth. It will also tell us more about the practicality of a permanent manned base at the lunar South Pole.
Lunar Mission One is using crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to fund the development phase of the project. Supporters who make pledges to the project via Kickstarter will become lifetime members of the Lunar Missions Club. They will have access to a range of information and experiences relating to the project, from 'Meet the Experts' events to the opportunity to have their name inscribed on the lunar landing module.
Kickstarter backers will also receive rewards including a digital 'memory box' for inclusion in a 21st Century time capsule that will be sent to and buried in the Moon as part of Lunar Mission One.
Following the development phase, funded by Kickstarter, the remaining funding requirements of the project will primarily be met through sales of digital memory boxes to the general public, as well as through public sector and commercial backing.
Also included in the time capsule will be a publicly assembled, owned and authoritative record of life on Earth. This 'public archive' will include a record of human history and civilisation to date alongside a species database showing the biodiversity of animals and plants. The project will make the public archive available online both during development and afterwards so it can be developed further.
Education and inspiration are central to the mission, which aims to inspire a generation to learn more about space, science, engineering and technology through a worldwide programme of educational engagement. Educational partners backing the project include The Institute of Education and the Open University.
All surplus funds raised from the project will go to a non-profit charitable Trust for supporting future space science and exploration.
David Iron, Founder of Lunar Missions Ltd and the Lunar Missions Trust said: "Governments are finding it increasingly difficult to fund space exploration that is solely for the advancement of human knowledge and understanding as opposed to commercial return. The world class team of advisors and supporters we have assembled will address this issue and crucially, anyone from around the world can get involved for as little as a few pounds. Lunar Mission One 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."
Ian Taylor, the former Minister for Science, Technology and Space and Chair of Lunar Missions Ltd added: "Scientific exploration has always been based on innovation and ambition. Lunar Mission One exemplifies this – not only in what it will seek to discover, but in reaching out to the wider public for involvement in and financing the project. Ultimately, Lunar Mission One could become an exciting template for galvanising additional resources to explore the Moon and beyond."
RAL Space Director Richard Holdaway commented: "Lunar Mission One is both ambitious and innovative, demonstrating an exciting way of enabling lunar exploration. Our experience in multiple and complex space missions will play a vital role in helping coordinate the project. As well as direct exploration benefits, the mission will have longer term advantages including technological advances and knowledge."
Space Scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock said: "Lunar Mission One is going to be one of the iconic milestones in space history, not just because of its scientific endeavours but also because of its novel means of finance. I spend much of my time engaging children with the wonders of space and celebrating our achievements to date. What I love about this project is that kids can be part of the mission themselves. This gives them a vested interest in the project and I see this as very empowering. Space really is for everyone."
Lunar Mission One will also create significant advances in drilling technology which can be replicated on Earth to improve the safety of remote control drilling.
About Lunar Mission One
Lunar Mission One is being run by Lunar Missions Ltd, its operating company. It is being developed and supported by a number of leading figures and organisations in the industry with decades of experience in the science and space sectors.
Partners and advisors include RAL Space, University College London, Open University and the Institute of Education. Trustees and directors include Ian Taylor, former UK Government Science Minister; Monica Grady, Professor of Planetary and Space Science at Open University; Sir Graeme Davies, Former University Vice Chancellor; and Angela Lamont, broadcast media presenter and producer.