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Helping Africa to reach for the moon

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 01:28

An African-led space exploration initiative launches a crowdfunding mission to reach the continent's final frontier - the moon. As Grace Pascoe reports, it's about winning the hearts of young Africans too.

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One moon mission for man, one giant leap for Africa. The continent's first ever lunar venture is now just dollars away. The Foundation for Space Development, based in Cape Town, is seeking $150,000 dollars in crowdfunding to send its first orbiter to the moon. Jonathan Weltman, its CEO, is attempting to halt Africa's "brain-drain" (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDATION FOR SPACE DEVELOPMENT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR, JONATHAN WELTMAN, SAYING: "We are trying to provide a project that will keep skilled engineers and scientists in Africa and inspire other students and scholars to take an interest." The "Africa2Moon" project aims to send a robotic craft to the moon, once there it will stream live images back to earth and into Africa's classrooms to raise space awareness. To date Russia, the U.S. and China have been at the forefront of space exploration, now Africa wants in on the action. Doctor Rene Laufer is an international lunar expert. (SOUNDBITE) (English) THE SPACE SCIENCE LAB, HEAD, LUNAR EXPERT AND ASSOSIATE RESEARCH PROFESSOR, DOCTOR RENE LAUFER, SAYING: "Africa has great resources, it has a lot of smart people with excellent education and that's the main resource you need for a mission like this. It's the ideas which bring you to the moon." Africa2Moon has partnered with the UN foundation's "Giving Tuesday" initiative to help with the funding. But it hopes public donations will help complete Africa's first lift-off.

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Helping Africa to reach for the moon

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 01:28