A UK-grown start-up company has announced plans to land a rover on the Moon within two years.
SpaceBit founder Pavlo Tanasyuk said he expected to land near the Sea of Serenity by July 2021.
“Our goal is to go there and see what is available there for all humanity to explore,” he said.
The company has created what it has called the world’s smallest Moon rover, which uses legs rather than wheels to move around the lunar surface.
The battery and solar-powered machine will take measurements and collect data, as well as use its two cameras to capture “robot selfies”.
Only three countries have previously put a rover on the Moon – The United States, Russia and China.
The mission is not funded by the UK government – US space agency NASA has awarded millions of dollars to several small companies as part of a partnership scheme.
The rover weighs only 1.5kg and can be held in one hand
Mr Tanasyuk said it was a one-way mission for the rover.
“It will spend up to 10 days on the Moon before going into the night and basically freezing forever,” he said.
SpaceBit said it planned to launch a competition asking UK schoolchildren to name the rover before it left Earth.
The UK government Space Agency may not have a presence on the Moon, but it played a leading role in the creation of a Mars rover that is expected to launch in July next year.