UK 'to lead moon landing' funded by public contributions
The aim is to raise £500m for the project from donations by the public. In return, donors would be able to have photos, text and their DNA included in a time capsule which will be buried under the lunar surface. Lunar Mission One aims to survey the Moon's south pole to see if a human base can be set up in the future.
The plan has received the endorsement of a host of well-known scientists and organisations. These include Prof Brian Cox, the Astronomer Royal Lord Rees, and Prof Monica Grady of the Open University. David Iron, who is leading the project, said he was setting up the initiative because governments were increasingly finding it difficult to fund space missions.
"Anyone in the world will be able to get involved for as little as just a few pounds. Lunar Mission One will make a huge contribution to our understanding of the origins of our planet and the Moon," he said. The team hope to raise £600,000, using the international crowd funding web service Kickstarter, in the next four weeks to fund the initial phase of the project.
For the next four years, funds will be received through contributions from the public, who will be able to buy digital storage space on the lander for their own personal text messages, pictures, music and videos. They will also be able to pay for an immortality of sorts by sending up a strand of their hair, which the project team claim could survive for one billion years.