Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An open sourced mission to the moon?

moon A non-profit project by the name of OpenLuna Foundation has set upon themselves a lofty goal: they want to put mankind back on the moon using entirely open source technologies and private funding.

All aspects of the mission plan and hardware will be open source. This information will be publicly available and community support and involvement will be actively pursued and welcomed. Special efforts will be made to involve students, educational facilities, and amateur space enthusiasts.


The project has drawn up a mission plan consisting of 5 trips to the moon. The OpenLuna Foundation aims to begin with robotic missions, followed by manned exploration, and ultimately build a $500 million eight person permanent outpost on the moon. The gist of their mission is this:

  • Land near the south pole to investigate the existence of water, He-3 and a good location for a future shelter and outpost.
  • Collect 50kg to 100kg of rock sample. The rocks retrieved from the missions will be auctioned off and profits from this will proceed to fund the next mission.
  • Place at least one communications satellite in orbit.
  • Launch up to five astronauts to build the outpost, and if feasible and safe, leave a volunteer on the surface.
  • Offer the outpost for use to organization such as NASA, ESA, JAXA, other space agencies, and private individuals and organizations.


OpenLuna is looking for volunteers in various discipline to work on the project. Curiously enough, all I see are Blender artist, writer, producer, tailors(??) and lawyers. I thought we needed engineers to build a spacecraft.

But the funniest sight on the site is the Paypal donation button. Paypal? Who raises money for a project as huge as a moon mission through Paypal donations? Donations are barely enough to keep the servers running.

Either for genuine interest or for laughs, you can read more about this outrageously insane idea on their wiki and resource page.

[via O’Reilly Radar]


  1. Hi Kaushik,
    Thank you for the mention.
    A couple additional points worth mentioning. We have Engineers, Some really good ones, and more volunteering all of the time, but what we need to do is find a way to pay for their tools and parts. (Something even NASA can't seem to be able to do.) To do that, just like you said, we need to do some serious fund raising. Interestingly, it takes money to raise money, and that's what the paypal link is for. We also take donations using many other methods. We also use it to raise awareness. (Because the "Donate Here" link is kind of a staple for open source projects) So, thank you for helping!
    The need for fund-raising and and awareness is the reason for the need for the marketing and artist types. The Seamstress/Tailor? We are also building space suits, (Know anyone who wants to help?)

    Again, Thank you for the interest!

    Paul Graham
    Project Manager,
    OpenLuna Foundation.
    “Because we’ve waited long enough!”

    Your Moon, Your Mission, Get involved! http://www.openluna.org
    Show your support in a tangible way – http://www.openluna.org/membership.php

  2. Hi Paul,

    I apologize for the negative tone on the article, but seriously, do you really think you can organize such a challenging and complex mission entirely on volunteers? Don't you think you will have better prospect if you strike a deal with a space organization like NASA or ESA? Instead of building a launch vehicle from scratch, you can outsource the tough jobs to people who are already used to launching rockets and instead concentrate on the satellite and other mission objectives.

    Just some suggestion.


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