A joint space venture between BitMEX and the private tech firm Astrobotic, intended to take bitcoin literally ‘to the moon,’ is set to end in spectacular failure with the faulty lunar lander and its crypto cargo doomed to burn up as it plummets back to Earth.
Astrobotic’s mission was to make the moon “accessible to everyone” as it launched the Peregrine spacecraft on its first mission. It offered buyers the chance to send telescopes, rovers, memorial gestures, and brand deals to the moon.
BitMEX paid to send a physical “lunar bitcoin” engraved with the private key to a wallet holding 1 BTC. The firm’s apparent goal was to generate publicity for a competition that would see winners walk away with a baseball hat signed by founder and former CEO Arthur Hayes. The competition would also divide 100,000 tethers (USDT) among the top traders.
Unfortunately, on January 15, Astrobotic announced that, following a catastrophic propellant leak and issues with its solar panels last week, Peregrine would not only fail to land on the moon, it’s hurtling back to Earth and will burn up in our atmosphere.
NASA and the US government are reportedly working to assess the craft’s trajectory with its latest location estimated at 218,000 miles away.
According to Astrobotic, “The spacecraft continues to be responsive, operational, and stable,” while noting that “the propellant leak caused by the anomaly has practically stopped.”
Also onboard the soon-to-be-incinerated lander was a plaque engraved with the details of the first mined Bitcoin block, purchased by Bitcoin Magazine, and according to the Dogecoin Foundation, a single Dogecoin.
Speaking about the inclusion of the engraved plaque, Bitcoin Magazine said, “This endeavor symbolizes the exploration of Bitcoin’s use cases beyond Earth and opens up possibilities for future interaction with the token.”
Bitcoin Magzine also auctioned models depicting the plaque on moon rock in addition to ordinals and commemorative coins.