The Story so far

Lunar Mission One began as an ambitious, seemingly impossible dream of a new lunar mission for everyone.

At a time when space agencies were finding it increasingly difficult to meet popular and political pressures to go beyond Earth orbit, especially within the timescales and public budgets given to them, Lunar Mission One was conceived as a serious mission for scientific exploration, but with a completely new model for popular funding.

This was in 2008, before internet crowdfunding was even invented.

Since the end of 2014 that dream has become a reality:

  • The Kickstarter campaign Open or Close

    The Kickstarter campaign

    The fundraising campaign started with an announcement at the World-famous Royal Society in London on the 19th of November 2014, to widespread international media attention. Within one day over $300,000 USD had been raised, and within four weeks over 7,000 people from over 70 countries had backed the project, raising over $1 million. With endorsement from the likes of Lord Rees, Stephen Hawking, Brian Cox, Dan Snow and Stephen Fry, the campaign generated over 1,800 pieces of print and online coverage across the globe from more than 80 countries, and reached 66 million unique Twitter accounts.

    Support for this exciting mission came from schools, educational institutions and corporations. As families, couples, individuals and groups joined Lunar Mission One, we saw the start of what is now a passionate community. It is thanks to its founder backers that Lunar Mission One is now turning an innovative and exciting idea into a tangible and realistic global project.


  • Since the campaign Open or Close

    Since the Kickstarter campaign

    Since the campaign we’ve been busy developing plans for our next phase. Our Kickstarter funds have been used in a number of areas.

    We have been assembling the initial project teams to plan and manage the fine details of the first phase of the project. This is a complex programme and we have created a legal arrangement for management sponsors to set up the project over the next three years. They will be paid out of early revenues and will underwrite any shortfall. The management is organised into four teams:

    • Mission procurement. Their role is to oversee the selection and negotiations of the main space mission contract, with a supplier that can undertake the mission’s management and its technology development.
    • Science. Their role is to define and organise the mission’s science, both for the instruments the mission should carry and the physical archive the mission will deposit beneath the surface.
    • Marketing. Their role is to oversee the selection and negotiations of a global sales and marketing arrangement that will pay for the mission, and meanwhile to generate early revenues to help the sponsorship and its business case.
    • Education. Their role is to plan the global education programme, via a pilot project to test education ideas in all areas. This part of Lunar Mission One is not-for-profit.

    To promote public engagement and the growth of an international community of Lunar Mission One supporters, we have also been:

    • creating a network of volunteer Chapters around the World, in all continents, to act as local supporters;
    • developing an online collaboration platform where people can work together in virtual teams to contribute to the development of the overall project;
    • establishing long term relationships with universities and institutional networks.

    We have also contracted with the Google Lunar X-Prize contender Astrobotic for it to carry an early private archive for us within two years.

  • The Next Steps Open or Close

    The Next Steps

    We anticipate it will take up to three years to set up the main contract for the space mission itself. We have been in informal discussions with a number of key industrial companies, and will be inviting them to form into consortiums that can bid for the work. These consortiums will be international in nature, and cover all the technologies that the mission requires, such as the drilling equipment, spacecraft, landing avionics and navigation, and of course the rocket to launch it all into space.

    We expect our industrial discussions to broaden and deepen, especially on key technologies such as drilling and precision landing, for which we can expect to establish special research and development projects to improve the maturity of key technology components.

    Over a similar three year period, our Science Team will plan and develop the science requirements and detailed instrument payload. Organised under several working groups, they are gaining international collaborations with scientists, universities and research institutions around the World so that all lunar related interests can be considered for our mission. Space science and exploration is increasingly a collaboration between nations, and we look to Lunar Mission One to reflect that collaboration within the project itself.

    We will also be progressing the science of the archive, leading to the technology solutions it needs for its construction.
    Although the main sales and marketing campaign is a few years away, it is important we ramp up our early revenues, to help pay for the project as it is set up, and to demonstrate Lunar Mission One’s business case. We expect to select a global marketing organisation to take this over in around two years.

    Our global education programme too will be prepared over the next three years, with pilot schools around the World testing out ideas.

    This is an incredibly exciting period for Lunar Mission One and its supporters. We now have the opportunity to make history and create a lasting global legacy.

  • Early Years Open or Close

    Early Years

    Back in 2007 David Iron, an expert in public/private partnership funding of space satellite projects, was informally asked by the Chairman of the UK Space Board to find a new way of funding space science and exploration projects - one that was not led by the politics of taxpayer funding. He noticed that there was an untapped interest in space within the general public, beyond the conventional institutional and business interests of the sector.

    He investigated the opportunities in line with existing international space agency plans at the time of NASA’s Constellation Program for manned exploration. He looked at several mission proposals on both sides of the Atlantic, and within a year selected an idea for a scientific deep drilling mission to the Moon’s South Pole. He saw that it could be funded by the public, by giving them the opportunity to contribute a small part of themselves in their millions, to accompany the ultimate time capsule of our time.

    The business case was founded by the astonishing concept of storing an individual’s DNA code by a strand of hair, adding it to personal descriptions and stories, and composing the whole record while imagining a future discovery not just of humankind but of life on Earth itself.

    Funding would come from a large number of people, all paying a small amount, rather than the more traditional method: a small number of organisations financing a large amount. This way, the project could belong to anyone who was passionate about either space exploration or Earth’s environment, whoever they are, wherever they are.
    After much investigation, analysis and discussions with experts in several fields, and building a network of specialists, in 2014 David and his team decided that they would raise the capital needed to start the project via an online crowdfunding platform, and selected