AN OXFORDSHIRE tavern is making a bid to be the first pub in space. Well, sort of.
The Red Lion in Blewbury, near Didcot, has given money to a project that wants to take thousands of personalised “spacecraft” to the moon.
The pocket-sized spacecraft are tiny computers embedded in a circle of paper the size of a CD.
They contain a radio allowing the owner to track its speed and location using a smart phone Pocket Mission Control app.
However, in order to go ahead the PocketSpacecraft project needs £290,000 by August 26. So far it has only got £50,000.
Pub landlords Matt Wardle and Kerry Tombs have given £200 to the fund, which allows them to customise a pocket spacecraft.
Mr Wardle said: “I have always been fascinated by space so when one of my regulars told me about PocketSpacecraft the Red Lion space mission was on.
“With all the data they will collect who knows what we will discover.”
Pocketspacecraft.com is a project paid for by “crowd funding”, where members of the public contribute small amounts of money to hit a large target the organisation would otherwise struggle to reach.
The group includes a number of scientists, engineers and designers who aim to open up space exploration to the public by allowing anyone to buy the miniature thin-film spacecraft, customise them online, and send them into space from just £19.
The Bristol-based scheme is backed by Wantage and Didcot MP Ed Vaizey who visited the PocketSpacecraft HQ recently.
Should the mission hit its funding target, the Red Lion lunar scout disc will join thousands of others in “piggybacking” on a commercial space launch.
The project designers plan to hitch a lift into space on a low-cost CubeSat satellite before being released into the moon’s orbit and landing on the surface.
The pub plans to print the Red Lion logo on its spacecraft and is encouraging regulars to invest in their own personal spacecraft and join the space race.
The pair also plan to run promotions as the mission progresses such as free beers for regulars landing on the moon before the pub, a free meal for whoever lands closest to the pub and a sweepstake for where and when the spacecraft lands.
“I think the regulars will love it,” Mr Wardle said.
With the pub being close to the science park at Harwell, it hopes the project will be popular with scientist and customers.
Regular Hugh Lewis is a scientist who works for Square Wave Ultrasound in West Hagbourne.
He said: “It sounds like quite a lot of fun so why not?
“Looking at the prices they are charging, I am sure more people will try it.”