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Going to the moon? What Africa is doing to put its man or cat into space, and how you can help

You may not believe it, but there are actually tangible moves to launch Afronauts into outer space. Serious.
ON July 21, 1969, American austronaut Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the lunar surface to a worldwide audience riveted by the historic event to utter his famous words, “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

That mission decided what was known as the Space Race, a rivalry between the US and the USSR to be the first to land a man on the moon, decisively in the Americans’ favour. 

Forty-five years later, Africa is still seeking to raise funds to launch its own module into space, with one notable effort stuck at the feasibility stage.

News agency AFP reported that an ambitious project to send an African spacecraft to the moon has raised only $13,000 of an initial target of $150,000, cash meant for studies on whether such a mission would be practical.

With only three weeks to go, the Cape Town-based non-profit Foundation for Space Development which is fronting the Africa2Moon Mission has said it will go ahead even if the internet crowdfunding appeal fails to meet its target.

Group CEO Jonathan Weltman admitted to being stumped over the slow response to fundraising for the “feasible” project, particularly after a similar private British project, Lunar Mission One, last month exceeded its target of close to a million dollars ahead of schedule.

“We get a lot of Afro-pessimism,” he told the agency. “Anything positive, aspirational or leading edge is treated with scepticism. Weltman however said while donors have been slower to the draw, response by the media and within the industry had been “overwhelmingly positive and supportive”...CONTINUES...

Mail & Guardian Africa
09 JAN 2015 15:20 LEE MWITI

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