Image courtesy of NASA
The Open University (OU) is one of a number of organisations supporting Lunar Mission One – a crowd-funded project to fund a lunar mission that will deliver new insights into the origins of the Moon and the Earth.
The OU is one of the key partners in the project’s global education programme which aims to inspire a new generation to learn more about space, science, engineering and technology.
Professor of Planetary Sciences and Head of the OU’s Department for Physical Sciences, Monica Grady said:
“Lunar Mission One is a remarkable opportunity for millions of people worldwide to take part in space exploration. We are absolutely delighted to be part of this innovative project and to support its ambitious scientific and educational goals.”
Within 10 years, Lunar Mission One will land on the Moon’s South Pole. Using innovative new technology, the mission’s aim is to drill to a depth of at least 20 metres deep, but potentially as deep as 100 metres, allowing the mission to access and analyse for the first time lunar rock dating back around 4.5 billion years. 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 tell us more about the practicality of a permanent manned base at the lunar South Pole.
Lunar Mission One aims to raise initial development funding through Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, giving everyone the opportunity to support and be a part of the mission for as little as a few pounds. Supporters who make pledges to the project via Kickstarter will become lifetime members of the Lunar Missions Club. They will have access to a range of information and experiences relating to the project, from ‘Meet the Experts’ events to 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, funded by Kickstarter, the remaining funding requirements of the project will primarily be 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 will make the public archive available online both during development and afterwards so it can be developed further.