First there was the Million Dollar Home Page, and then came all the copycat sites (which all appeared to try and do exactly the same thing — apart from at least one clever and amusing take on events). Finally, things seemed to have calmed down and that internet meme seemed to have faded.
Now it seems to be back, with an astronomy twist: BuyMeToTheStars.com. The site has been created by a chap called Michael Halls-Moore — a 24 year old graduate student studying for a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering in London. And the reason he's doing it? Let me quote from his FAQ:
Why Are You Doing This?I can't say I fancy his chances but it's hard not to applaud his attempt to raise awareness about spaceflight (and astronomy too I guess).
I believe that access to space should be available to everybody on Earth. It seems that only professional astronauts and the rich are able to fly at the moment. However, by making this site and raising the cash I am showing that it is possible for a common bloke like me to realise my dream.
The way I see it, if *I* can do it, then anyone can do it. Challenges like mine raise public awareness of space exploration in general. This then causes more funding to be allocated to new space missions which in turn provide indirect benefits to mankind. For instance the Apollo missions helped bring us the digital computer (imagine life without those!).
On a more personal note, I also want to try and see if I can actually achieve this crazy goal!
If you want to follow what he's up to he's got a weblog although, annoyingly, it doesn't seem to have an RSS feed.
Edit: It has now.