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Moon Idle

Crowdfund a Moon Monolith Mission? 199

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ok-probably-not dept.
Jamie found a somewhat amusing little essay on putting together a crowd-sourced mission to put a monolith on the moon. The author estimates it would cost half a billion dollars, which is a sum he thinks could be raised. Although personally, I think a half a billion dollars could be put to better use, it's a fun thought exercise.
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Crowdfund a Moon Monolith Mission?

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:06PM (#34779580) Journal

    Let's raise the stakes. I propose raising half a trillion dollars to develop a time machine and put a monolith in Olduvai Gorge three million years in the past to influence Astralopithecus Afarensis evolution. Our very existence might depend on it.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Well, the time machine part could be a bit complex to get. But would be easy to send a monolith to Saturn or Jupiter, it even don't need to land, just to stay in orbit. Anyway, filling it with (movie) stars will make that expensive. Can't it be filled with politicians or lawyers? it will make humanity to advance too.
      • by nospam007 (722110)

        With the RIAA lawyers that will come forward to ask for licensing money for "Also sprach Zarathustra".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I propose raising .887 trillion dollars and giving it to corrupt business people.
  • Why not crowd-fund a completely open-source (thus nothing magical) tablet computer?

    • see OpenMoko. Total failure...
      • Except that OpenMoko was not "crowdsourced" -- it was a failed for-profit investment-funded business. And they didn't fail to make a phone; they failed to make money.
        • Every "crowdsourcing" thing is a for-profit business. There isn't an organization that isn't out there to make money for themselves. Sure, they might justify it as expenses, but just as we work to get a paycheck to pay for rent/mortgage, food, clothes, etc. they do the exact same thing. The only difference is generally scale.

          And they essentially failed, the goal of OpenMoko if I recall correctly was to make a multi-purpose Linux distro that everyone could flash on their phones while being about as good
          • OK, the difference between a for-profit and a non-profit is that the non-profit does not pay anybody dividends. A non-profit is legally forbidden to reward its investors (who are called "donors"). So, actually, it's completely different, since the entire purpose of a for-profit is to pay dividends to the investors.

            A monolith on the moon certainly isn't going to pay anybody dividends in proportion to their investment. Either no investors get paid, or everybody gets the same "dividend" (even those who did

    • by Simon80 (874052)
      Because imitating a market leader is always doomed to fail (by the time you come out, they will have innovated again, and you will be behind). However, this reminds me of the Pandora Handheld, which is a handheld computer/video game console with an extraordinary set of hardware features that has an open, Linux-based OS and was crowdfunded via pre-orders. Unfortunately, they've failed to avoid getting jerked around by their suppliers, so they have yet to completely ship all of the units in their first batch.
      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        Tell that to Apple, they are really in trouble if imitation is doomed to fail, after all, almost every major brand had a tablet computer well before Apple.

        • by Simon80 (874052)

          Were any of those tablets wildly popular? Was anyone falling all over themselves trying to imitate those tablets? Is the iPad a clone of any of those products?

          It would greatly support your point if you could link us to any example of a tablet that resembles the iPad but was announced before the iPad was.

          • by Coren22 (1625475)

            Wikipedia mentions many examples of tablet computers, some looked much like the iPad, but generally they ran Windows, so were actually useful:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tablet_PC [wikipedia.org]

            Though they were not wildly popular in the consumer market (though incidentally I know many people who prefer them), they were very popular in certain commercial markets. The computers many delivery people use are tablets; UPS, Fedex, beverage distribution companies.

  • Etch everyone's name on it who contributes, and you just might do it. It helps that you wouldn't have to actually pay unless the entire sum was raised. I'd kick in a hundy.
    • Wasn't that an episode of "The Tick" when Chairface etched his name on the moon?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      My, and my families, name is on mars and on a comet. so the moon? meh.

      That said, I think it should be solar powered and give off a faint freq.so if some other species in the earths future goes to the moon, they will have evidence of a previous race. I would put a variety of information for communicating ideas, and I would put stuff IN the monolith.

  • Better Use? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:14PM (#34779776)

    Although personally, I think a half a billion dollars could be put to better use

    You can play that game forever though. Did you east breakfast this morning? That food could have been put to better use, as could the water from your shower, or the resources it took to make the shoes you put on your feet.

    In fact I can think of no better use for a tiny drop in the total sum of money floating around the planet, than a mass exercise in artistic expression. It's kind of the ultimate way of saying, here we are.

    • With some people, even the oxygen they use when breathing could be to better use...

    • In fact I can think of no better use for a tiny drop in the total sum of money floating around the planet, than a mass exercise in artistic expression. It's kind of the ultimate way of saying, here we are.

      This is the question isn't it?

      Certain activities are excess, certain are essential. You can't play the game forever: the food people eat is essential to their survival. Art is not, and as excess, it exists only in a situation of abundance of the essential.

      The only reason excess can be derided, right

    • You can play that game forever though. Did you east breakfast this morning?

      I'm sympathetic to the suggestion that we could fund this and not be terrible people, but you're being absurd. There's a huge difference between... er... easting breakfast and spending a billion putting a pointless thing on the moon.

      In fact I can think of no better use for a tiny drop in the total sum of money floating around the planet, than a mass exercise in artistic expression. It's kind of the ultimate way of saying, here we are.

      I can. For one thing, an -actual- artistic expression rather than just an expensive tribute to a book/movie.

      For another thing, the moon has been done decades ago. True, we planted a flag, and it was more a show of nationalism, but a monolith to say "we are here" is still redu

      • I'd be more inclined to fund another "bottle in the cosmic ocean" as Carl Sagan put it, similar to the Voyagers even though it would be the third. After all, there are a lot of directions to send probes, right?

        I'd be willing to compromise on that as long as we sent out a lot of them, they were all shaped exactly like imperial probe droids, and they included copies of Star Wars along with various body parts of George Lucas.

    • by w0mprat (1317953)
      What about all the money spent on sports and recreation? That could be better spent on feeding millions of starving children somewhere.

      Infact lets ban all forms of fun and interest if it isn't directly helping disadvantaged children somewhere.
  • I liked the artist's rendition of the black monolith front view. That made me laugh out loud at work. It would appear that the paper's name, Ironic Sans is quite appropriate.
  • I especially like the artist's rendition of what the Monolith would look like! :-)

  • Surely somebody can get geeks excited in something more useful than putting a non functioning block of stone on the moon.

    There's plenty of non-functioning human created hardware sitting on the moon already. Put your hundred dollars to better use, help people here, help planet Earth, whatever good cause you believe in. Some of them even give you credit, if your goal is getting your ego stroked / your name for immortality etc.

    Plenty of IT related good causes down here.

    Or at least match your moon-donation wit

  • Why, is there a bank left that needs a bailout? Do you get a bank bailout for just half a billion anyway?

    • Indeed. We need to make sure No Banker Left Behind succeeds before we waste money on such frippery.
      • "No banker left behind" sure is a good name for a program involving a moonshot.

        Mind if we add a few lawyers?

        • You have my permission to add as many lawyers to a one-way moonshot as you please, however, given the numbers involved, you might want to consider sending the lawyers to "explore" the Mariana Trench instead.
        • by I8TheWorm (645702) *

          Toss in most politicians and I'll have paypal at the ready.

  • I mean why? Chairface Chippendale is just going to obliterate it with his laser, so why bother?
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:27PM (#34780024) Homepage

    Then get out there, raise it, and put it to that "better use".

    • no no no no no.

      You misunderstand. He wants to control what you want to do with YOUR money, not what he wants to do with HIS money.

  • Really... I think putting something that is essentially just an art exhibit onto the moon before we have any sort of real plan to get anybody back there, particularly since it doesn't even offer to create any sort of impetus for getting us back onto the moon anyways, may be one of the most spectacular ways to waste money that doesn't actually involve throwing perfectly good cash into a fireplace.
    • And how exactly is this anything close to the same thing as "throwing cash into a fireplace"

      the reason money exists, is to purchase time/work from somebody. $500M would potentially allow hundreds of people to earn a living for a time, stimulate an economy that globally is stagnating, and would produce results that people would for hundreds of years be able to say "we accomplished that" or "we helped fund that".

      the reason the world's in an economic slum, is because people like you think that spending m
      • And how exactly is this anything close to the same thing as "throwing cash into a fireplace"

        It does nothing useful for almost anyone (well... a small number of people would get a very expensive heating system) and all it does is produce pollution.

        the reason money exists, is to purchase time/work from somebody. $500M would potentially allow hundreds of people to earn a living for a time, stimulate an economy that globally is stagnating, and would produce results that people would for hundreds of years be able to say "we accomplished that" or "we helped fund that".

        Those people will not starve without this project.If anything, this project would take away their valuable time and resources.
        Also, idi... I mean author of the "article" pulled all of the numbers from his as... I mean thin air.

        You want a project you could say "we accomplished that" about? Get your buddies and go plant some trees.

        it's "saving money" that ends up hurting the current system, not spending it.

        Actually... no. It's spend

  • somebody should get the author in touch with the current "staff" behind ThePirateBay.

    I'm sure they'd love to contribute something to the project if the monolith could be used in a distributed link technology. even something dumb like just a solar powered signal repeater would be awesome.
  • Well played joke. He wanted to land the monolith by parachute, and give a small sticker as the only reward for donating 100 bucks... Think about these things,


    Well trolled sir, well trolled.
  • by Xerotope (777662) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:34PM (#34780144)
    Some people loosely connected to the Lunar X Prize want to place a Christian cross on the moon.

    http://crossonthemoon.com/ [crossonthemoon.com]

    Religious Zeal-sourcing?
    • by Coren22 (1625475)

      I am Catholic, and I just can't support this if it is real. Only a true religious zealot would want to put a cross on the moon. Why not a symbol from every religion?

    • Religious Zeal has had it's business plan hammered out centuries before the invention of the Corporation. If I was a betting man, I'd give the odds of the Monolith as 1:1000000 chance of happening, the Cross a 1:3 chance.
  • Start a charity that provides one free space flight for children with rare and fatal diseases. Everyone wins. The kids get an obscenely expensive, cool experience and commercial space travel gets an unprecedented shot in the arm with private funds.

    • is it terrible that all that makes me imagine is kids trying to become sick, so they can get a ride in space?
      • by MikeRT (947531)

        Test them for alleged illness. If they maintain the illusion all the way through, just punt them out the airlock.

        Problem solved.

  • Off the top of my head, some of the design issues that I can think of for doing something like this are (in no particular order):

    Deployment: Having a large, long, skinny rectangle (probably hollow to save mass) bolted to a launch vehicle is a bad idea. Rockets shake the ever living shit out of their payloads and that monolith is going to be one big wiggling moment arm unless the basic internal frame is super rigid. That said, it seems like making the monolith some form of deployable, maybe a telescoping
    • Some monolith facts:
      1. The monolith can be any size, but the proportions are 1:4:9. It's actually infinitely dimensional, so the next three are 16,25,36. Notice the pattern?
      2. The monolith is found on the moon in the crater Tycho. Tycho is the one with all the streaks coming from it on any picture of a full moon; like arrows pointing at the crater saying "find monolith here".
      3. When the sun hits the monolith for the first time in the 4 million years since the apes were impregnated with the idea of the use of too
  • The article needs a minor correction, the diagram is labelled as showing the front of a monolith but it is clearly a rear view.

  • Sell the back of the monolite per square inch as advertising space or for private investors to put their name on. Maybe in a million years it will be rediscovered by some descendant of the mouse who then have achieved human like intelligence.
  • by falken0905 (624713) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:40PM (#34780276)
    Why does the moon need two?
  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:44PM (#34780332)

    Let's see if we can land a golf ball on the moon for $1 million and perfect our technique before we go wasting half-billion dollar boosters that might explode on launch.

    • by khallow (566160)

      Let's see if we can land a golf ball on the moon for $1 million and perfect our technique before we go wasting half-billion dollar boosters that might explode on launch.

      The half-billion dollar booster is part of that "technique".

      • Cost In Todays Dollars Of 1960's moon program: $170,000,000,000
        # of Saturn V rockets in Moon program: 15
        Maximum Payload of Saturn V rocket: 272,000
        (170,000,000,000 / 15) / 272,000 = $41666 per lunar pound
        1.62oz golf ball = $4218 to get a golf ball on the moon using 1960's technology.

  • by jameskojiro (705701) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @02:47PM (#34780376) Journal

    That way we can get immortality and live long enough to visit the monolith they place there.

  • If we just describe Apollo 11 as "sent Neil Armstrong to the moon for an afternoon giggle," that would of course sound like a waste of all of those resources. Instead, America collectively spent those resources by choice.

    We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willin

  • Tell him it will be the cornerstone for his new house, he'll be all over it. He certainly has $500M to spare...
  • As a skeptic, what this really means to me is: this guy is looking for a way to fund his retirement.

    Half a billion? That's 500 million. Sure, it might cost that much to perform the actual operation, but consider: management and administration costs. Surely there will be a significant portion of that set aside, particularly for the fund management. Say, as a non-profit, it's a 'relatively modest' $175k/year for such a position (if he's fitting in with current gov't standards, at least), and surely that sum w

  • Couldn't we just pull another "Capricorn One" and pocket the other $450,000,000?

  • by Lester67 (218549) <ratels72082 AT mypacks DOT net> on Thursday January 06, 2011 @03:55PM (#34781510)

    With telemetry back to Earth. Seriously... NASA could do that with their eyes closed.

    Lunar Cam 2011. That's MY crowd source mission.

  • I'm all for funding a project to put something on the mood. But make it something constructive, not some stupid, pointless tribute to a novel and movie. I like the movie and novels, but not so much that I was to see untold millions wasted on this nonsense.

    How about spending a few thousand bucks and having one erected somewhere on Earth?

    • I'm all for funding a project to put something on the mood.

      May I suggest some Bolero? Or maybe Luther Vandross.
  • Placing a monolith, or any relatively small-sized object on the moon is a waste of time: it is bound to be obliterated, or at least buried, by an asteroid strike long before the Earth-Moon system is destroyed by an aging sun. Something that would last much further into the future would be a large-scale excavation of some kind, like the Nazca Lines. It could be something as simple as a straight line, or consist of more complex shapes, perhaps conveying information about our civilization. The bigger it would
    • by Dthief (1700318)
      how about write "if you can read this you are too close" on the light side of the moon - nazca style
  • 1. Use existing survey data to find spots on the moon where peaks are likely to contain good, solid rock.

    2. Launch laser into LEO.

    3. Carve monolith using precision control of the laser.

    4. ???

    5. Profit!

    I don't think we can do this now. We'd probably learn a lot building the control systems to target and move the laser. Some of the results of that research might really be profitable.

  • Like analogs to the Martian rovers? I watched a documentary a while back where there were was still information to be gleaned from surface rocks the Apollo astronauts never had a chance to collect.

  • That estimate seems very low. We probably couldn't restart the Shuttle programme for half a billion, and as it stands there are no rockets ready to lift anything to the moon.

    IANARS but my out-of-the-blue unqualified know-nothing-about-it guesstimate would be around 4 billion dollars. Maybe that's too low too.

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