By Bobby Chen,
Penn State’s Lunar Lion team is now $133,768 closer to landing on the moon at the conclusion of its first round of crowdfunding, which started on Jan. 20 and ended a few seconds ago. (It ended at 12:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24, if you’re reading this later.)
The $133,768 raised will help fund the development of a prototype moon lander, which will be used to test and simulate the actual landing of the Lunar Lion on the moon that is scheduled for Dec. 2015. Currently, the only other entities that have completed a “soft-landing” on the moon are the governments of the United States, the former Soviet Union, and China.
If successful, the Lunar Lion could become the first privately-funded effort to land on the moon, ever, which would net the team and the university $20 million from the Google Lunar X Prize. At the very least, a moon landing by the Lunar Lion would put Penn State in the history books as the first university in the world to accomplish that feat.
All in all, the Lunar Lion garnered over 800 donations in this first round of crowdfunding. Notable individual funders include Weebly co-founder (and Penn State alum) David Rusenko and current Minnesota Vikings linebacker Michael Mauti. Notable corporate donors include A&E Television and Moon Base Builders, who each contributed gifts of at least $10,000 to the university-led moon mission.