Crowdfund project seeks to fund mission to the moon
A crowdfunding project aimed at the moon has blasted off on a mission to raise a million dollars (£660,000) in 30 days.
The Moonspike project intends to design and construct a 22-ton three-stage rocket that will send a small probe into orbit and then onto the moon.
After a four day journey through space, a titanium spike-shaped capsule carrying images, video and other data from the mission's backers will be crashed onto the lunar surface.
A team of independent rocket engineers has already produced a preliminary design for the rocket.
Kickstarter backers who support Moonspike will have complete access to the mission team through blogs, video-chats and interviews.
Moonspike chief executive Chris Larmour said: "We're doing this for the adventure, and we want everyone to be a part of it. With Moonspike, there will be a transparency that hasn't been experienced in any space mission until now.
"We would like everyone that wants to be involved in a real-life space mission to pledge their support, and literally and figuratively, help us get this project off the ground."
If the initial crowdfunding effort succeeds millions more dollars will have to be raised from traditional private sources.
The launch site and date is yet to be determined.
Chief technical officer Kristian von Bengtson, a co-founder of Danish private space travel group Cophenhagen Suborbitals, said: "We believe that with a reasonable amount of funding we can build a reliable, effective launch vehicle and spacecraft, and take a shot at the moon."