Sending out parcels and digitals messages to our fellow Earthlings is old, the new trend is to send out digital messages into the vast cosmos. A YouTuber has managed to negotiate a deal with NASA and purchased space on their next mission to send a hard drive to the moon! While our friends may send us torrented movies and music on pen drives, the data to be encrypted on the drive being sent to the moon is still being decided. In fact, even you can contribute to the drive and have your photo sent to the moon.
Jimmy Donaldson, who goes by the internet alias MrBeast, purchased space aboard the Peregrine Mission One lunar lander. The spacecraft is sponsored by NASA and Astrobotic Technology (privately owned company) that specialises in developing robotic technology targeted for space travel and research. The mission will be launched in June 2021 on United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket.
On January 24, MrBeast posted a link on his Twitter where people could submit a photo they wanted to be sent to the moon for a price of $10 (Rs 729). The project, as described by MrBeast, is, “the universe’s first digital time capsule.”
In addition to the Twitter post, he also did a live stream with his fans where he explained the project. As Astrobotics and NASA will be putting the lander on the moon later this year, he said, he purchased space on the craft to take a hard drive to our nearest celestial body. “And I thought it would be fun to let you guys put whatever you want on that hard drive on the Moon,” he added.
The Astrobotic Technology’s Peregrine Mission One lunar will carry both governmental and private payloads. The NASA deal is for 14 payloads and at least 19 commercial payloads have been confirmed. The hard drive being curated by MrBeast will go on the Mission One launch as a commercial customer.
In the last few years, NASA has hired three private companies for Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS). Apart from Astrobotic, Intuitive Machines, and Orbit Beyond will also be ferrying payloads for the space agency as well as private parties.
Astrobotic struck a deal worth $79.5-million (Rs 5,76,39,58,500) to be the first American lander to touch down on the lunar surface since Apollo 17 almost 50 years ago. Additionally, any space not occupied by NASA can be sold or occupied as needed by the company. This is how MrBeast was able to purchase his payload to be delivered to the moon.
The company released a statement in 2019 where they revealed they would have 18 payloads from various countries. It includes seven rovers from six countries, instruments from four countries, and other unique payloads like the hard drive from five countries.