Lunar landing project plans to make use of crowd funding
Mankind may have already accomplished the giant leap of walking on the Moon, but a group of scientists and entrepreneurs is hoping to boldly go where no one has gone before.
In possibly the most ambitious "crowd-funded" project ever attempted, a British team is planning to use public donations to pay for a lunar landing.
Within 10 years, the team believes it can raise enough money to design, build and launch a spacecraft capable of travelling to the Moon and drilling deep into its surface in an attempt to understand the origins of life on Earth.
The team also wants to bury a time capsule containing digital details and DNA of those who have donated money to the venture alongside an archive of the history of Earth. Finally, the mission will assess the practicality of a permanent manned base at the lunar south pole.
"Lunar Mission One" already has the backing from eminent space scientists at universities throughout Britain as well as Ian Taylor, a former Conservative science minister, Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, and the UK parliamentary space committee.
The team must raise €750,000 to get the project started and it will take a further pounds €3.75bn to get it, literally, off the ground. It is the brainchild of David Iron, a former Royal Navy engineering officer who has worked on more than 150 technology and space projects, including Britain's military satellite navigation programme, Skynet.
"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," said Mr Iron, the Lunar Missions Ltd chief executive.
"The world-class team of advisers 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."
Advisers on the project include Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space science at the Open University.
(© Daily Telegraph London)