Kickstart Your DNA (And a Rover) To The Moon!

Omega Envoy, the non-profit research lab Earthrise Space, Inc.’s team competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, has launched a Kickstarter project to help fund a 4-axis CNC milling machine needed to continue development on their proposed lunar rover. CNC machines don’t come cheap, but in typical Kickstarter fashion Earthrise Space is offering incremental rewards to anyone who donates to their project — from mentions on their site to t-shirts, Moon globes and facility tours (and even 5-gallon tubs of duck sauce) and, if you’re lucky enough to have deep pockets and a desire to help a student training ground get their designs off the ground, you can even have your DNA sent to the Moon!

From the Google Lunar X PRIZE article:

For the first time in human history, individuals will have the opportunity to send a sample of their DNA to the lunar surface. For a pledged donation of $10,000 or more, ESI will collect your DNA sample, package it into a storage container mounted on the company’s Lunar Descent Vehicle and fly it to the surface of the moon where it will be preserved for all time.

“We are excited to be exploring new approaches for fundraising and for public engagement, including through the crowdsourcing Kickstarter platform,” said ESI’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Joseph Palaia. “We are hopeful that this Kickstarter project helps us to make significant progress towards our near-term fundraising goals, while also providing some incredible rewards for our supporters.”

With the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a total of $30 million in prize money is available to the first privately funded team to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, have that robot travel 500 meters over the surface, and send HD video, images and data back to Earth.

Of the 26 teams in the competition, ESI is one of only six teams which have been selected for a NASA Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data contract worth up to $10M. But the contract is awarded incrementally and a multi-axis CNC machine is needed to take their designs to the next level (and meet upcoming contract goals.) Donate to their Kickstarter project here.

At whatever level you contribute, know that you are helping students build real spacecraft, and you’re going to be getting some pretty amazing rewards as well! The students appreciate your support!

— Omega Envoy team, ESI

Find out more about ESI’s project on the Earthrise Space Inc. website, and check out the other Google Lunar X PRIZE competitors here.

Source: Google Lunar X PRIZE blog

13 Replies to “Kickstart Your DNA (And a Rover) To The Moon!”

  1. ESI will collect your DNA sample, package it into a storage container mounted on the company’s Lunar Descent Vehicle and fly it to the surface of the moon where it will be preserved for all time.”

    Am i the only one that thinks that is really weird? Also, even if it’s just the novelty of saying “my DNA is on the moon”, that alone isnt that interesting. I tell people I have martian rock, and they don’t care. Plus, i’m sure scientists and engineers have their DNA somewhere around Jupiter, surface of Mars, Moon, Saturn etc.

      1. My intention isn’t to be confrontational or “hit hard” at anyone at that party, but I’d like to know what purpose using the planet’s leading edge technology to deliver your hair follicle or inner cheek swab to another celestial object has, other than ego.

        In my opinion, I don’t think that we have the surplus of resources which we could splurge on whims like this. (Not yet!)
        Also in my opinion, this is simply a modern version of “Receive a certificate of a star named after you.”

        My first thought from the headline before reading the article was that this was a brilliant plan to fill a satellite kept in high orbit around Earth with a huge assortment of DNA, seeds, moss, bacteria…
        Should a catastrophe occur similar to the K-T Ext. Event and we haven’t made it off this rock yet, the DNA satellite orbit would decline over calculated hundreds of years and the Earth would get a kick-start for Life re-occupation.

      2. That is an excellent idea!

        Sorry about the reedit, my browser acted up:

        Not DNA, even if it may last that long – it won’t do much of anything as such. Even if pieces can be taken up and used by bacteria, it is most likely just feeding of it.

        But the seeds et cetera. Much better than putting it on the Moon, just reset the decline when needed. An impactor, unlikely as it is to be as severe as K-Pg* **, won’t need re-occupation of individuals or even species as much as niches, so such diversity helps.
        * The new terminology, comparing like with like, K vs Pg
        ** Extremely unlucky pinpoint of sulfurous and calciferous sediments both.

      3. Don’t know what happened to my first comment. I wasn’t trying to be confrontational either. I love the idea of sending our DNA or some other information into space for keeps. And you are right, this would come in handy in a K-T event, though I hope it never comes to that.

        But where I live that “so what” line would come out most often, even if you’re not at a party.

      4. I like it, but wouldn’t an impactor big enough to end us kick up so much space debris into orbit as to shred any spacecraft long before the dust has settled? Perhaps the answer is to have a fleet of them.

      5. Don’t get me wrong. I agree and quite love the idea of sending our DNA or some other information into space for keeps (although I hope it never comes to that).

        But following what Jason said, we were talking about that party. Don’t know where you live how it is but here this reply comes out more often “so you are into that, ha?”. I got mocked a lot when I was young because I watched Discovery Channel.

        So… a “so what” wouldn’t be that far away, even if you don’t do it just to brag.

  2. where it will be preserved for all time.

    Not even technically fact, cosmic and solar irradiation breaks it down in short time. More importantly, you can’t resequence DNA to recognize it without errors or even reimplant it yet*. It isn’t “active” DNA or memorabilia.

    It is a sentiment to a person.
    * Though I imagine they will extract white blood cells, which perhaps can be used for cloning.

    1. People like sentiments… even if they are scientifically and logistically useless (which they usually are.) Sentiments are what keep people emotionally interested in things, and when they are emotionally interested they will be more likely to help support (read: fund) them.

      As a whole, people will never, IMO, entirely separate themselves emotionally from the endeavors they aspire to, no matter how scientific in nature, nor do I think they should. It’s those little quirks that inspire us and make us what we are. (Have we learned nothing from Star Trek TOS? 🙂 )

Comments are closed.