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Toonies for Mars! Quid to the Moon! Canadian and UK space missions need our support!

Canada's Northern Light mission and UK's Lunar Mission One, Credit: Thoth/Northern Light, Lunar Missions Ltd

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Monday, November 24, 2014, 6:46 PM - The Mars Curiosity rover has cost about $2.5 billion. The Rosetta mission to land on a comet took about 1 billion Euro to launch and maintain. The Mars Orbiter Mission, launched by India cost around $74 million. The UK and Canada may have all these beat by far, as they plan on launching missions to the Moon and Mars, for about $1.1 million each, but they need our help to get them off the ground!

Northern Light

The Northern Light mission to Mars is a plan to send a small lander, with an even smaller rover, on their way to the Red Planet in 2018. While this mission will 'piggyback' on the launch of another spacecraft, it will land and operate on its own, directed right here from Canada, based out of Northern Light Ground Station at the Algonquin Radio Observatory.

CLICK BELOW TO WATCH: Ed Robertson, from the music group Barenaked Ladies, talks about Northern Light and what the mission aims to do, in this short video.

In order to launch their mission, the Canadian team has started an Indiegogo fundraiser campaign (click here).

Beaver Rover. Credit:

They've only raised about $6,600 so far, but with 40 days to go in the campaign, they've just started on the path towards their $1.1 million. Donations can be of any amount, it seems, but the campaign perks start with a toonie and go all the way up to $1 million for that generous person who wants to be able to name the mission lander! Some donations not only give the you the satisfaction of helping out a cool space mission, but also score you some cool swag - a flyer, a mission patch, a tshirt, a cap, or a scarf and toque set.

Along for the ride: The Beaver rover, pictured to the right. This tiny solar powered robot will be an extension of the lander, heading out to seek new targets for science in the landing zone. Referred to as 'the little rover that could,' this little guy will be equipped with cameras and its own spectrometer to examine the geology of the local environment.

That's just what's planned for the moment, with the $1.1 million budget. If the campaign can reach further milestones - $2 million, $3 million or even $4 million - it will add new features, like a speaker system to play the first artificial sounds on Mars, HD cameras to send us back amazing footage of the flight, landing and mission, and possibly even more!

Lunar Mission One

Building on the legacy of the US's Apollo missions, the UK's Lunar Mission One plans to launch a robotic lander to the Moon in 2024, to push the boundaries of exploration by going two places where no mission has gone before - the Moon's south pole, and beneath the lunar surface.

CLICK BELOW TO WATCH: Welcome to Lunar Mission One

Although primarily a science mission, with the goal of deploying new drilling technology to investigate the Moon's subsurface geology, Lunar Mission One will also contain a digital record of human civilization, and of all known life on Earth. The first copy of this repository of knowledge will become a lunar time capsule, placed under the ground there for future generations to find. However, this database will also be made publicly accessible, for free, to everyone here on Earth.

The mission's Kickstarter campaign (click here) has already raised more than half of the £600,000 (~$1.06 million) needed for them to get started, and there's still over three weeks left to go. Some of the most generous supporters will have a chance to record a personal digital 'memory box' which will be included in the time capsule when its buried on the Moon.

Lunar Mission One goes even further beyond this crowdfunded space mission and free access database, though. They are also establishing the Lunar Missions Trust - a not-for-profit organization that will support research and education in the fields of space science, engineering and technology. According to their website, the Trust wants "to ensure that a meaningful, substantial and inclusive global legacy is gained from the success of Lunar Mission One; a legacy of global education, public engagement in science and future space exploration."

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