Nov 23, 2014 03:43 PM EST
In a time when space missions take the cover pages of nearly every news source, and the headlines pull readers in, the general public would be shocked to learn that many government space agencies are struggling to keep their satellites and spacecrafts up in the sky. And knowing the financial struggle all too well, a group of British researchers from the Lunar Mission Trust, a non-profit think-tank for astronomers and space buffs alike, have decided to crowd-fund their newest adventure to the moon. And with only 24 days left to go, many are questioning whether the team will be able to reach their lofty goals.
For centuries now, since the dawn of man, early scientists have sought out remnants of space rock and interstellar interactions here on Earth. Legends of moon stones and pieces of stars have abounded in nearly every culture, but now that astronomers have the technology to leave their own mark on distant planets and satellites, one company is looking to leave a piece of Earth on our very own moon. If all goes according to plan, and the company can be funded by interested parties, a decade from now a spacecraft from the Lunar Mission One will land on the South Pole/Aitken Basin of the moon and create a new history for mankind.
The primary purpose for the mission will come in the form of samples collected of the moon's mantle, when a high-tech drill will bore 66 feet down into the surface and collect fragments for researchers to study. But before the spacecraft leaves, it will deposit a two-part time capsule filled with a public history of life here on Earth, as well as, digital "memory boxes" created by individuals interested in helping crowd-fund the mission via KickStarter. The memory boxes will hold digital files including records of family trees, family photos, selfies, and even a fragment of one's own DNA in the form of human hair.
"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" founder of Lunar Missions Trust, the non-profit behind the project, David Iron says. "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."
Originally conceived by British researchers seven years ago, the project Lunar Mission One has sought out an effective means of crowd-funding in the form of the KickStarter site. And since its launch on Nov. 19, the interesting project has already raised more than half of its £600,000 goal, while also gaining mass appeal from space junkies and sentimental-types alike.
But the goal barely scratches the surface of what the team will need. It's expected that the Lunar Mission One will cost roughly $782 million (U.S. dollars), though much of this will be supplemented by investors from the private sector. And with successful Leeds scientist Monica Grady, who also helped the European Space Agency successful complete its Rosetta Mission earlier this past summer, at the helm of the Lunar Mission One, the researchers are assured that the payoff will be worth the investment the public is making in support of the novel concept.
"Our aim is to go and drill on the Moon" Grady says. "And we'll look at the water on it in the same way we're doing with the comet."
"The time has come to get back to the surface and to bring samples back from places the Apollo missions didn't go to."
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