Moon Roundup: Mauna Kea to Las Cruces
This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE…
Spaceport America. [Foster & Partners image.]
The teams kicked it into high gear, as an important test run shapes up; a team looks to launch manned rockets from the port of Virgin Galactic; and crowdsourced efforts abound for payloads, rovers, and more!
The Pull of Mauna Kea
Puli is planning to do a full test run of their Moon mission---on Mauna Kea!
Team Puli's rover on a test in Morocco. [Team Puli image.]
The famous mountain in Hawaii has a lunar-like landscape on its slopes, and so the team from Hungary plans to send their rover there for a full simulation of what it will take to win the $20 million prize.
They'll take HD video (broadcasting it in near-realtime), move 500 meters, and test their systems by controlling the rover from Budapest, Hungary (7,800 miles away). This will be a key demonstration of Puli's capabilities! If the rover is good to go, all it could really need to win the prize is a ride to the Moon.
They're supporting the test mission with an IndieGoGo effort, where people can get things like a 3D-printed minature of the rover, or the ability to have the rover tweet out something for you.
Here's the video from the campaign:
And the "big island" is no stranger to moon rovers---NASA and the Canadian Space Agency conducted tests of their own RESOLVE rover there back in 2012, producing this pretty rockin' video:
Meanwhile, team ARCA is in talks to launch their Haas 2B rockets from Spaceport America!
ARCA rendering of the Haas 2B.
The Haas 2B rocket will have the capability of flying 5 people (yep, people!) to 160 kilometers above the Earth (which is roughly the bottom line for "low earth orbit").
Spaceport America. [Virgin Galactic image.]
Spaceport America, of course, is the famous home of Virgin Galactic---born from the team who won the original Ansari XPRIZE (of which ARCA was also a competitor).
A pioneering location for spaceflight, the southern New Mexico facility will also soon be home to SpaceX Grasshopper flights.
Students in India can form five-person teams to develop a rover concept, which could then be used (potentially) on Team Indus ' mission to the Moon.
Here's a piece-by-piece look at their lander, which would carry any potential rover down to the Moon:
"My Payload Went to the Moon!"
An educational nonprofit (Innovate Our World) is looking to crowdsource student payloads for at least three Google Lunar XPRIZE missions!
Innovate Our World image of the nonprofit visiting team Astrobotic at Carnegie Mellon.
The nonprofit will have middle & high school kids form teams to design payloads, working alongside the different Google Lunar XPRIZE teams to make payloads that fit their missions. A pretty epic opportunity for any kid!
And last but not least, Angelicvm shared a video of their 3D printing in action, complete with pop soundtrack:
I'll be rounding these up every week, so keep an eye here for the latest developments from the future of the Moon!
And 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!
[August 20th-August 26th, 2013.]