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Science & Space

Personalized moon crash for sale on eBay

By Leonard David
SPACE.comexternal link

One Nevada company sees a lunar bulls eye.
One Nevada company sees a lunar bulls eye.

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eBay Incorporated
space technology

(SPACE.comexternal link) -- Better hurry, and bring along at least $6 million. That's the opening bid on eBay for crashing 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of whatever personal cargo you want to lob to the moon.

Orbital Development of Carson City, Nevada, is looking for interested parties in its MoonCrash Project. For a starting bid of $6 million you can buy a commercial spacecraft project that will go to the Moon.

This is the simplest lunar project possible, explains the company, with a moon crash similar in scope to the late 1950s and early 1960s lunar impact missions carried out by the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Orbital Development will provide a lunar spacecraft that can be packed with personal paraphernalia. While en route to the moon -- taking 4 to 5 days -- and before smashing into the lunar terrain, the moon probe would return digital photography as it approaches the near side of the moon, right up the moment of impact.

Condition of the cargo cannot be guaranteed after the 4,000 mph impact, Orbital Development explains, although the cargo is contained within a special burst-resistant canister.

The winning bidder will need to cool their jets for a while. It will take 15 to 18 months for the spacecraft to be designed, constructed and tested. The major client may decide the impact point on the lunar surface. The project intends to use a Russian aerospace contractor's commercial test launch vehicle to lob the craft and cargo to the Moon.

Gregory Nemitz, president of Orbital Development, said: "The MoonCrash Project would probably be attractive to some bored rich guy, who is tired of playing with his radio-controlled model airplanes and wants to move up to the next level."

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