The much-hyped collaboration between BitMEX and private tech company Astrobotic that promised to take bitcoin literally ‘to the moon’ looks like it might fall short following an issue with the craft’s propulsion system.
BitMEX had previously announced that it was working with Astrobotic to place bitcoin on its lunar lander which launched from Florida on Monday. However, reporting from the BBC suggests that Peregrine 1 is “fighting a fuel leak” and that “a touch-down on the lunar surface is no longer possible.”
Just hours after launch, engineers monitoring the craft, which was supposed to land on the moon in late February, noticed that it was unable to correctly align its solar panels. This means that it cannot draw enough power from the sun to charge its batteries and is being forced to use even more of its dwindling fuel supplies to keep it on track. But, once this propellant is used up, Peregrine 1 will reportedly lose power and start “tumbling.”
BitMEX has been capitalizing on the publicity generated by the mission by running its own trading competition that allows traders to potentially win a baseball hat signed by Arthur Hayes (as well as 100,000 USDT to be divided among the top traders).
The mission includes non-cryptocurrency clients like the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration who had purchased space for several experiments on the lander.
It is also carrying cremated human remains of astronaut Philip K. Chapman, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, and a number of the sci-fi show’s cast members.