Elon Musk has announced a SpaceX mission to the Moon paid for in Dogecoin, just a day after the cryptocurrency tumbled in response to the multibillionare calling it a "hustle" while he hosted Saturday Night Live.
The DOGE-1 mission is due to launch early next year as part of a rideshare aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. It will consist of a 40kg cubesat replete with camera, sensors and onboard computational systems aimed at gathering what sponsor Geometric Energy Corporation described as "lunar-spatial intelligence."
There is no indication how much the mission will actually cost (particularly considering the volatility of the currency involved). SpaceX charges $1m for a 200kg payload to a Sun Synchonous Orbit on a rideshare and describes its rates for flinging an object at the Moon as "affordable."
Geometric Space Corporation (a subsidiary of Geometric Energy Corporation) operates a cubesat rideshare programme, although its schedule currently has only a LEO Falcon 9 rideshare scheduled for June next year and a Firefly Alpha mission set for October.
Musk's keenness for crypto has been well-documented, although describing Dogecoin as "a hustle" during a Saturday Night Live sketch over the weekend might have offset his relentless plugging of the currency on social media.
The currency reached around $0.70 on Saturday morning, according to CoinDesk, before plummeting to nearer $0.45 during Sunday. It has since recovered to the $0.53 mark but, based on how crypto seems to go, a bunch of people will have either become billionaires or lost their trousers by the time you read this. As a reminder, Dogecoin started the year at around the $0.01 mark before rocketing in value during April.
Musk's appearance on the US comedy show, streamed via YouTube, was otherwise a lacklustre affair (although we were delighted to note an install of tmux in the background of Chad's unfortunate event).
Not that Elon will pay much heed to critics.
Although Musk's antics in a Wario costume were streamed around the world, SpaceX notched up a record-breaking ninth reflight of a Falcon 9 first stage. The rocket, carrying another batch of Starlink satellites, went on to make a 10th successful landing. ®