Moon Race Roundup: The Summit of Technology
This week, on the road to the Moon...
The Google Lunar XPRIZE teams converged in Budapest, Hungary for the annual Team Summit (hosted by the amazing Team Puli )! Discussions like the one above; braniac thrills; great times in a world(s)-class city; and a slew of robot action ensued as some of the greatest budding explorers from around the world gathered under a summer Moon:
Mike Vergalla of Moon Express got this shot of the famous ferris wheel ("look for the ferris wheel!"), shining bright with our favorite outpost in the sky.
But, before you can have rover action...you have to put the rovers together!
And there were a few awesome videos of such, including 'Airport packing, level 9000' from team Plan B :
(And you thought your souvenirs/toiletries were a challenge!)
And the assembling of an event rover from Part Time Scientists :
Robots? Hell yeah!
And they weren't the only ones excited about the Moon, as a cockroach...
...yes, a cockroach, set out for the Moon in team Hakuto 's hilarious new promo:
Go, little guy, go!
The event also brought a lot of great tech videos (with many more to come), including this pretty ballin' new rover from team SpaceMETA :
An appearance by the Killer Krawler, Astrobotic 's new test robot, as it tackled a stubborn slope:
A Moon Express behind the scenes of their rocket test facility in Hunstville, Alabama (Rocket City, USA);
And, not to be outdone, an epic look at another successful rocket test, this time from Penn State Lunar Lion :
The only thing better than when things are on fire is when the right things are on fire, right?
Though, dancing robots (like the Ladyfly from team Italia here) are hard to beat:
Get down with yo bad self, spider robot!
And robots that can tackle anything are pretty epic, too; rocks ain't got nothing on this Astrobotic test rover:
The Summit wasn't without news, as SpaceMETA is looking to launch on a Cyclone rocket from Alcantara Cyclone Space in Brazil:
And a cool new drone they've made (one of many Earth & space technologies they've made):
Another awesome behind-the-scenes is this blog from Part Time Scientists on the progress & accomplishments they've seen, including this 3D printing work on their camera housing:
Penn State Lunar Lion 's check-in on the difficulties of electronics, and building new connections for them:
And Euroluna 's presentation at the team summit, chronicling the challenges they've faced in getting a test launch off the ground. Great advice from their experiences!:
Before you can succeed at a launch, you now need to get one set up, and Plan B looks to be making exciting progress on that front:
Last but not least, we have something that looks incredibly painful and difficult---a trip to sunny Hawaii by our epic team summit hosts, Team Puli , as they tested out their rovers on Mauna Kea (and the beach):
Including a trip to the 'center of the galaxy'!
And, a certain Moon explorer happened to check in and advise team Moon Express ---Buzz Aldrin, paying his son (team president Andy Aldrin)'s project a visit:
Stay tuned for some thrilling TED talks from the summit, lots of epic robot action, and more as the competition continues to heat up! We're just getting started...
I'll be rounding these up every week---as the teams march forward towards history----so keep an eye here for the latest developments from your moon race!
For the full skinny on *everything* that happens, follow the official feeds for team blogs, team social, and team videos. You can also sign up for the XPRIZE newsletter to get cool PRIZE news in your inbox!
~Nick Azer, resident history nerd/blogger dude/Moon advocate extraordinaire