Shining a light on the dark side of the moon

Posted on 19 Nov 2014 by Jonny Williamson

Lunar Mission One aims to give people from around the world the opportunity to support and be a part of its pioneering project to explore the origins of the Earth, Moon and solar system.

Within 10 years, it is hoped that Lunar Mission One will land on the Moon’s South Pole. Using new technology, the mission’s aim is to drill to a depth of at least 20m deep, but potentially as deep as 100m, allowing the mission to access and analyse for the first time lunar rock dating back around 4.5bn years.

According to Lunar Missions Ltd, scientists anticipate that this mission will provide new and significantly advanced insights into the origins and evolution of the Moon and Earth. It will also test the feasibility of a permanent manned base at the Moon’s South Pole.

Lunar Mission One has engaged RAL Space as overall technical advisors for the initial stage of the project, a company which has been involved in developing more than 200 space missions and has supported both NASA and European Space Agency missions.

Lunar Mission One is utilising crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to fund the development phase of the project. As well as becoming lifetime members of the Lunar Missions Club, supporters who make pledges to the project will have access to a range of information and experiences relating to the project, such as invites to meet the expert events and the opportunity to have their name inscribed on the lunar landing module

Kickstarter backers will also receive rewards including a digital ‘memory box’ for inclusion in a 21st century time capsule that will be sent to and buried in the Moon as part of Lunar Mission One.

Following the development phase, the remaining funding requirements of the project are expected to be primarily met through sales of digital memory boxes to the general public, as well as through public sector and commercial backing.

Also included in the time capsule will be a publicly assembled, owned and authoritative record of life on earth. This public archive will include a record of human history and civilisation to date alongside a species database showing the biodiversity of animals and plants.

The project intends to make the public archive available online both during development and afterwards so it can be further developed.

Lunar Missions stated that education and inspiration are central to its mission, with an aim to inspire a generation to learn more about space, science, engineering and technology through a worldwide programme of educational engagement. Educational partners backing the project include The Institute of Education and the Open University.

All surplus funds raised from the project will go to a non-profit charitable Trust for supporting future space science and exploration.

Founder of Lunar Missions Ltd and the Lunar Missions Trust, David Iron commented: “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.

“The world class team of advisors 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.”

Ian Taylor, the former Minister for Science, Technology & Space and Chair of Lunar Missions Ltd added: “Scientific exploration has always been based on innovation and ambition. Lunar Mission One exemplifies this – not only in what it will seek to discover, but in reaching out to the wider public for involvement in and financing the project.

“Ultimately, Lunar Mission One could become an exciting template for galvanising additional resources to explore the moon and beyond.”​