The UK-backed mission to Mars, Beagle 2, is seeking up to &£10m in sponsorship and merchandising deals to help cover the estimated &£30m cost of the initiative.
Organisers of the project, which is being backed by the European Space Agency (ESA), have appointed M&C Saatchi Sponsorship to develop a marketing strategy to attract funding from the private sector.
Commercial opportunities will include branding on the spacecraft itself, extensive promotional activities throughout the mission’s two-year test period and a series of merchandising and licensing initiatives.
Beagle 2 will be launched in June 2003 as part of the ESA Mars Express Mission. As the Express approaches the planet, the pod will be ejected from the orbiter and land on the surface. It will analyse Martian rock, soil and atmosphere.
The project is being led by Professor Colin Pillinger at the Open University, with the University of Leicester, Matra Marconi Space and the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company also taking part. It has already received &£8m from the Department of Trade & Industry.