You really can crowdfund anything these days. Big filmmakers have turned to this avenue as a way to fund movies studios and other traditional investors pass over, all kinds of gadgets and gizmos would never see the light of day without this strategy, and you even see all kinds of businesses acquire their start up capital this way. You can even finance your trip to the Moon if you’re so inclined, which is a feat that one intrepid group of would be space explorers just successfully accomplished.
The U.K-based collection of scientists and engineers known as Lunar Mission One recently hit their target goal of 600,000 pounds (roughly $1 million U.S.) on Kickstarter, reaching their goal with more than a day to spare (they ultimately hit 672,000). With more than 6800 backers, their ultimate aim is to send a robotic probe to the surface of the moon in order to drill and perform research.
They want to collect core samples from beneath the satellite’s surface in order to hopefully gain a better understanding of what makes up the rocky little ball that hangs out in the sky every night. Within the next ten years, they hope to launch their vehicle to the Moon’s south pole and drill at least 20 meters, though they hope to reach depths of 100 meters, in order to examine the geological composition.
They also plan to leave something behind. Part of the reason why they managed to reach their lofty goal and attract so many investors is because of their sponsor gifts. Most of them include “digital memory boxes,” which are essentially time capsules and contain your very own DNA. So while you won’t be able to bounce from crater to crater through the light gravity, you will leave your own unique stamp on the Moon. And if advanced aliens or future races ever discover these, maybe, just maybe, they’ll be able to clone you from your sample, and all of a sudden you’re in a sci-fi movie.
This ambitious project has gathered some high profile attention, including catching the eye of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. After successfully completing their campaign, Hawking offered words of congratulations, saying, “Today they have achieved what are the first steps towards a lasting legacy for space exploration. Lunar Mission One is bringing space exploration to the people, and I have no doubt that young people and adults alike will be inspired by the ambition and passion of all those involved in the project.”
This is actually just the first step in what is a much grander, long-term plan. The folks behind Lunar Mission One want to ultimately create a permanent human settlement on the Moon. In large part, this unmanned journey will let them know if that is even feasible or not.