It seems we've been so busy exploring Mars and Comet 67P that we've forgotten about the moon, our closest extraterrestrial body.
Lunar Mission One, however, hopes to change that by crowdsourcing a new moon mission that will send a rover to the moon to explore its surface and drill into its heart in hopes of learning more about both the moon and the Earth.
Lunar Mission One, though, is no flash in the pan space exploration project. Its technical advisors include RAL Space, an organization that has helped both NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) develop over 200 missions, including the recent Rosetta mission that made history when it orbited a comet and then made history again when it sent a lander to the comet's surface.
Lunar Mission One's goal is to land a rover on the moon's South Pole within a decade. Scientists will equip that rover with a new kind of drill that will let it burrow through the moon's surface and take unprecedented samples of deep lunar rock.
Although this sample analysis will give us new insight into both the moon and Earth's origins, it will also lay out the case for the possibility of a future manned moon base.
"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," says David Iron, Founder of Lunar Missions Ltd and the Lunar Missions Trust.
To pay for the development phase of the project, Lunar Mission One is turning to Kickstarter. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign will not only become lifetime members of the Lunar Missions Club, but will even have a chance to get their name engraved on the lunar landing module. Kickstarter backers will also receive a digital "memory box," which the lander will deliver to the moon, burying it there as a modern time capsule.
The team will also sell these memory boxes to the general public. The time capsule will include the boxes plus a record of human history on Earth, along with a database of species that exist on the planet.
Other funding will come from commercial backers and the private sector.
The mission also stresses education and hopes it inspires a new generation of those interested in space and space exploration.
"I spend much of my time engaging children with the wonders of space and celebrating our achievements to date," says space scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock. "What I love about this project is that kids can be part of the mission themselves. This gives them a vested interest in the project and I see this as very empowering. Space really is for everyone."