Students ... To The Moon!

The Moon Mission Challenge inspires students by giving them the opportunity to design an innovative payload based on an actual planned mission to the Moon!
Ron McCandless
Ellicott City, Maryland
United States
3 Team Members

No need to panic, we're not sending kids to the Moon. First, it is way too expensive to raise that kind of cash. Second, we probably couldn't get parents to sign the waivers and permission slips. No, we're talking about students coming up with creative ideas for payloads based on robotic rover missions intended to roam on the surface of the Moon! Unlike sending humans into space, it is easier (but not easy) for private companies and universities to design, build, and launch robots to land on the Moon and do great innovative things. We're working with one of those companies, Astrobotic Technology, which has plans to send a robotic rover to the lunar surface to explore lunar lava tubes late in 2015. Penn State's Lunar Lions and Team JURBAN Google Lunar X Prize teams have also agreed to participate with their missions. Student teams work with us and Astrobotic/Penn State/JURBAN to come up with creative ideas for payloads designed for their Moon spacecraft. Of course, that takes support (yes, funds) to accomplish so we're here to ask for your help to take our pilot program and make it into a fun, easily accessible project (called the Moon Mission Challenge) in which any middle or high school team can participate. Our goal is to make this available to any team, regardless of location or socioeconomic situation.

First, let's give you a guided tour of MMC. 

What is the Moon Mission Challenge (MMC)?

We want to inspire students to reach for the stars in whatever they do in life.  Innovate Our World created a STEAM (STEM & Arts) challenge that would inspire kids to think innovatively and show them that they can do great things working together as a team.  The MMC does just that - it gives middle/high school students an opportunity to come up with an innovative payload idea for planned lunar robotic landers, one of which is planned for flight to the Moon in late 2015. 

Before kids can design something for the Moon, they need to know all about the Moon. Our learning partner Immersive-3D has developed a cool Cyber STEM Academy where students can learn what it's like to live and operate on the Moon at their own pace in a game-like environment. Hey, teachers like this too because they don't have to deliver the basics; they can focus on project and team activities, like coming up with some brilliant ideas for a lunar payload.

Working with the engineers at Astrobotic Technology and advisers at Penn State, student teams will design a payload to fit onto one of our partner's Google Lunar X Prize lunar robotic rovers and "sell" their concept to a team of NASA, industry, and academic experts at our Challenge event in April 2014, which will be held with the USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Washington, DC Convention Center.  The benefits to the students are wide, ranging from building skills they can use in college and career to exposure to college, industry, and government representatives that can help them down the road.

But first, we need your help doing this.

What We Need & What You Get

To get this ready for prime time for January 2014, much work needs to be done moving existing content over to the cyberacademy, developing new content, and helping out schools financially, especially those that qualify for the final capstone event. Schools pay nothing; it all comes from donations.We're looking for a minimum of a dozen teams but the more money we raise, the more teams we can financially support and the more cool stuff we can add to the interactive learning environment.  We are working to include as many socioeconomically disadvantaged teams as possible so your contributions will go to fund those teams first.

Check out our perks!  We think the eBooks are great because you can see the product of your contribution.  Tours are even better as you can see robots in action! Of course, you can be a star to the kids by sponsoring a school or becoming a Challenge judge.  We see all contributors as stars and each of you is very much appreciated.

Become a Superstar of Referral! Get Invited to a Cool Party (Really)!

We're looking for those superstars of donations, you know, those who can shame, I mean get their friends, families, and colleagues to help out. You know who you are, the person who raises beaucoup bucks for causes. We want you to apply your awesome talents to this worthy cause as well. We make it easy to refer other donors, plus we have extra rewards based on the number of donors you refer. Just refer them to our crowdfunding campaign and have them complete the referral form on our site at When they make their Indiegogo contribution, we will link their donation to your referral and you'll receive the following:

• Extra donor gift with your existing reward
• Additional entries into a weekly prize drawing (one entry per referral). Weekly prizes include autographed space books, videos, and more!

For those who go beyond the call, we have special rewards for you! To honor the original American space program, we have three referral levels.

Mercury Crew - Become a member of the Crew with just 3 referrals. As you may know, the Mercury capsule carried one astronaut aloft in orbit. Well, squeeze tight because you and 3 (or more) of your friends are now taking this ride together - and we really appreciate it. As a Crew member, you'll get a space-related pack worth at least $50.

Gemini Boosters - with at least 6 referrals, you become one of our awesome boosters. You bring the power to get the MMC released from the bonds of Earth's gravity (or something like that). You are outspoken, passionate, and energetic - just what we need to raise money for students. For this level, you'll get a space-related pack worth at least $75.

Apollo Aces - WOW, you're the cat's meow! You've gotten 10 or more people to contribute and we're very grateful. For your extraordinary effort, you'll get a space-related pack worth at least $100!

It just gets better! The top three referrers (by amount donated) will receive a special reward to be announced during the campaign. Oh, and one more perk.

All Crew, Boosters, and Aces referrers be invited to our Donor Dinner next year at the Engineer's Club in Baltimore, MD. If you can't make it, designate someone to attend for you. You'll receive special recognition plus some neat swag. Plus the Engineer's Club is a fantastic historic venue with old world charm. We're looking forward to meeting you!

Why This is Important

Students need inspiration to do great things.  They also need to see the practical skills required for the workplace.  MMC is the only middle/high school challenge connecting kids to industry experts and an actual mission to the Moon!  Moon Mission Challenge winners will receive prize money they can use for their education plus an opportunity to enter the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation (SoI) Awards challenge.  SoI gives student winners funds for taking their great idea to further heights. 

MMC is a great extracurricular for students to put on their college resumes so they can get into the college that's right for them and get that great start.

Here's a recommendation from Kaan Balimtas, who was a member of one of our pilot program schools in 2011:

"Joining the mission was one of the most useful experiences I had during high school because it enabled me to gain hands-on experience with large scale projects. The same communication and analytical skill-set is vital whether it is planning the design and feasibility of a payload or finding the right investor and financing deal that fits a company's growth plan. This type of immersion tremendously helps with career-readiness and, I found, can be applied to a wide range of careers including science, engineering, consulting, and investment banking."

Join Us on Facebook and Spread the Word

Look up Innovate Our World and Moon Mission Challenge on Facebook and "Like" us to get updates.  We appreciate any way you can spread the word about MMC and Innovate Our World.  You can also join our mailing list on our site,


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raised in 1 month
6% funded
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Verified Nonprofit
$25,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on September 25, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Join the Community Package

    We all want to be part of something big, well why not start by becoming a Moon Mission Challenge community member? You will get regular updates, receive thanks on our website, and be invited to Google Hangouts where you can ask the hard questions. All of this for the cost of lunch!

    3 out of 999 claimed
  • $20USD
    Shout Out & Vote Package

    For your help, you’ll get the Community Package benefits plus a shout out (you determine the shout) on our social media channels (choose Facebook or Twitter) and a community vote for the MMC team you would like to see win the Challenge in April!

    1 out of 999 claimed
  • $30USD
    Moon Postcards Package

    How about postcards from the Moon? OK, how about three different postcards featuring a past, present, or future Moon mission, addressed to you or people of your choice, plus the perks from the Shout Out & Vote Package.

    1 out of 999 claimed
  • $40USD
    Support the Team Package

    "For a Few Dollars More" (gratuitous Clint reference) you get the benefits of the previous packages plus an autographed team photo from your choice: Astrobotic Technology or Penn State Lunar Lions. We’ll ask you what you want written on your photo and our dream team of robotic engineering stars will pose with their favorite machines and thank you in writing for your contribution.

    0 out of 500 claimed
  • $50USD
    Capstone Memories Package

    If you don’t attend the Capstone Event (shame on you!), you can make it up to us by your contribution that will get you a Capstone Ebook personalized with your name and message plus the Support the Team Package goodies. Ebooks will contain all MMC presentations and background material and makes great reading for the space enthusiast in your home!

    0 out of 500 claimed
  • $75USD
    Fore! Package

    Alan Shepard has the record for the longest golf drive on the Moon – of course, he’s the only one who has done it but with the Fore! Package, you get to compare yourself to Alan by getting an Apollo-logoed golf ball and official flight patch to wear while you hit it a great distance, in addition to the Support the Team Package.

    0 out of 100 claimed
  • $95USD
    Up Close and Personal Package

    You'll forever treasure your personalized MMC eBook with any message you want to add plus our special thanks for your contribution. And you can come to our conference for free and attend our evening reception too!

    0 out of 200 claimed
  • $150USD
    Support Your School Package

    Want to have a direct impact on a student team? Choose this package and your contribution will help us assist schools in need to enter our Challenge. You’ll receive the Support the Team Package plus get an autographed thank you for one of our Challenge teams. You can select your team prior to the Capstone event.

    5 out of 24 claimed
  • $350USD
    Take the Tour Package

    Ever wanted to have that special day where you and your closest friends and family are treated to great food, fun activities such as museum visits, and a personal tour of Astrobotic’s robotic facility in Pittsburgh, PA? Wouldn’t it be fun to see those advanced robots in action, ask the engineers anything you want, and make friends with aerospace leaders? What a fun day! Includes Support the Team Package.

    0 out of 12 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Be the Judge Package

    Have you ever watched American Idol or one of those other talent shows and say to yourself, I could be a better judge than that bozo? Now you have that chance! Buy yourself a judgeship at our Capstone Event where you can hobnob with experts from NASA, leading aerospace companies, and universities and where your vote counts the same as theirs during the final team vote in Washington, DC. Attend our evening reception and network away! Includes Support the Team Package.

    0 out of 4 claimed
  • $10,000USD
    Name Your Challenge Package

    Call the MMC your own! Get the perks of all of the other packages and have the MMC named after you for the first year. What can be better than naming rights? Receive special recognition at the Capstone event and more.

    0 out of 1 claimed
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