African moon mission seeks cash for first phase
A group of African space enthusiasts have taken to the internet to raise money for what they say will be the continent’s first moon mission.
Africa2Moon’s main goal is to send a probe to orbit or land on the moon and beam back video images that will be passed on to African classrooms using the internet. The project aims to use space exploration to encourage young Africans to embrace science careers.
During this initial phase, the Foundation says work will be done to develop the final mission concept, carry out an associated feasibility study and hold outreach events.
Since fundraising began on 25 November, the project has brought in more than US$12,700 of the US$150,000 the Foundation hopes to raise by the end of January.
“The main driver behind this mission is inspiring the youth of Africa to believe that space exploration … is not something that is the exclusive preserve of the most advanced countries,” Peter Martinez, the Foundation’s founding director tells SciDev.Net.
One in every nine African science graduates leaves the continent for jobs overseas, and most space science projects take place outside Africa, says Jonathan Weltman, the Foundation’s chief executive.
An African-sponsored space mission might be an incentive for scientists to stay on the continent and contribute to scientific expertise and infrastructure, Weltman tells SciDev.Net.