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Artist wants to build the first house on the moon

An art project looks to the stars with a robotic, self-assembling red cottage representing the first ever lunar art installation.

Sara Medina Lind

It looks like moon real estate may soon be in hot demand. A project is currently collecting crowdfunding to build the very first house on the lunar surface -- not as a place to live, but as an art installation.

The Moonhouse project, headed up by Swedish artist Mikael Genberg, was originally conceived 15 years ago, but was put by the wayside during the global financial crisis and has now been revived by the surge in crowdfunding in the last few years. It would see a cottage -- painted Falun red, traditional in the Scandinavian country -- standing on the moon's surface by 2015. The project is also sponsored by the paint manufacturer, Falu Rödfärg, which in 2014 celebrates its 250th anniversary.

However, they won't be sending astronauts to assemble the house. Instead, the house will be sent up in 2015 on SpaceX's Falcon 9, and private space robotics company Astrobotic -- which has done a fair bit of work with NASA -- has designed the three-metre by two-metre house to self-assemble once Falcon 9 drops it off.

"The Moonhouse will enable people to make history and a mark on the international scene since The Moonhouse will be the first payload funded by private individuals to land on the moon," said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton. "We look forward to working with The Moonhouse towards the first 'Apollo moment' for people around the world. Only three nations in the world have previously landed on the moon, but this is about to change."

The project is seeking crowdfunding through its own website, with backers paying for "distance". Pledging just $1 will fund, the team says, 25 feet (7.62m) closer to the moon, while $15 is 375 feet (114.3m). Higher reward tiers involve having your name inscribed in the house, books, prints and other mementoes.

Sure, it may be loony. But at least there'll be broadband. Maybe they can even get the house to tweet at us.