Lunar Mission One hits crowdfunding goal, heading into next phase of development

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Dec 17, 2014, 6:39 PM EST (Updated)

We’re in the private space race’s infancy, and it looks like we can officially add another player to the mix.

The U.K.-based Lunar Mission One has been working to raise approximately $750,000 via crowdfunding to help get a proposed moon mission off the ground. Well, believe it or not, they’ve actually done it. The mission has surpassed its fundraising goal and is now taking the next step toward becoming reality. Score one for public support of space exploration!

The mission goal is to send an unmanned lander to the unexplored south pole of the Moon to drill 20-100 meters into the surface — which is deeper than any previous mission — to study what’s in the 4.5-billion-year-old lunar rock. Obviously, that could hold all kinds of cool secrets about the universe, and this’ll be the first time we’ve explored that area or reached that depth.

As for the crowdfunding, that’s where the next part of the project comes in. Along with the lunar lander and drill, the mission will also send along a time capsule from Earth, filled with things such as digital videos, music and even DNA to be deposited on the moon for posterity. As you’ve probably figured out, the backers get to pick what makes the trip.

To help make the late push toward hitting the funding goal, acclaimed scientist Stephen Hawking threw his support behind the project and offered up some words of encouragement once it was officially funded:

“Today they have achieved what are the first steps towards a lasting legacy for space exploration. Lunar Mission One is bringing space exploration to the people, and I have no doubt that young people and adults alike will be inspired by the ambition and passion of all those involved in the project.”

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this project, and we can’t wait to hear which milestone they hit next. 

(Via Popular Science)