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Google Moon Robotics Space Transportation Science

X Prize $30 Million Robot Race To the Moon Is On 189

coondoggie writes "The master competition masters at X Prize Foundation are at it again. Today the group announced the 29 international teams that will compete for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize, the competition to put a robot on the moon by 2015. To win the money, a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon's surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high definition video and images back to Earth. The first team to do so will claim a $20 million Grand Prize, while the second team will earn $5 million."
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X Prize $30 Million Robot Race To the Moon Is On

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  • by tm2b (42473) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @08:13PM (#35239268) Journal
    Cue comments about $20 Mil not paying the bill.

    The prize is not intended to entirely pay for the effort, it is intended to lower the cost and provide a base level of return as well as publicize the effort. The X-Prize to "space" did not pay nearly enough to pay Rutan's costs, and people don't work at getting a Nobel for the cash prize.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 17, 2011 @08:29PM (#35239376)

    Cue comments about $20 Mil not paying the bill.

    The prize is not intended to entirely pay for the effort, it is intended to lower the cost and provide a base level of return as well as publicize the effort. The X-Prize to "space" did not pay nearly enough to pay Rutan's costs, and people don't work at getting a Nobel for the cash prize.

    Al Gore did it for the money. He certainly didn't do it for anyone but himself.

  • Re:Unfortunately, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @08:31PM (#35239392) Homepage

    No, it is not that hard to put something on the Moon. We have the parts, and we know how to make them. We can soft-land rovers on Mars, and the Moon is a lot easier to get to and easier to land something on than Mars is. The problem is not the technology, that is essentially a solved problem. The problem is doing it cheaply.

  • Lunar Lander (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrbcs (737902) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @08:46PM (#35239500)
    Please, please, please, would the winner send back a hi def photo of some of the Nasa junk left there. This would end all tinfoil hat theories on whether Nasa actually went there.
  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@@@netzero...net> on Thursday February 17, 2011 @08:52PM (#35239542) Homepage Journal

    The real news of the day isn't the contest itself, which has been discussed elsewhere including on Slashdot previously. The big deal is that a contract for a flight to the Moon [aviationweek.com] has been inked and a launch slot set aside to put the vehicle up there.

    I don't know how much this particular group is going to be making in terms of a profit, but they got their rocket and have some serious money behind them in terms of helping to finance this trip. This particular team is also the one to beat, or at least a top contender as well. I'm sure that over the next few months that several other teams are going to be announcing flight schedules too.

    The low-cost launcher to watch for that might turn a "profit" is ARCA [arcaspace.com] who has already launched a vehicle and has a rather unique approach for orbital spaceflight. Stuff is happening and money is being spent, so this is a good question to ask.

  • by BZ (40346) on Thursday February 17, 2011 @11:46PM (#35240660)

    Look, everyone understands the Nobel Peace Prize is a joke. Many people/organizations who get it really deserve it. But laureates have also included Al Gore, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, the UN, UNHCR, and a few other questionables (your list of questionables may obviously differ from mine). Obama's case is more glaring than most of those because for the most part the laureates had done things (even if what they did was to kill lots of people and then stop)....

    But you're tarring with a broad brush if you think that all the Nobel prizes work the way Peace does. The difference is in who's doing the awarding. The Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, and Literature Nobels are awarded by the Swedish Academy of Sciences (which hands out physics and chemistry), the Karolinska Institute (a medical university), and the Swedish Academy (which consists of people who actually deal with language for a living).

    In all four of those cases, the prize-awarding body selects a small committee to propose laureates, then take a vote in a much bigger group (the full membership for the two academies and a 50-person group appointed for the purpose at the Karolinska Institute.

    For peace, on the other hand, the selection is done entirely by the 5 members of the committee, who are not in the business of "peace" themselves but are effectively political appointees (appointed by the Norwegian Parliament).

    So the peace prize process is really sort of set up to fail to start with, compared to the other four.... It's a pleasant surprise that it doesn't fail more often than it actually does.

  • by mdielmann (514750) on Friday February 18, 2011 @11:07AM (#35243536) Homepage Journal

    Except it's not a re-enactment, it's a re-attainment. I'm hard pressed to think of another milestone like this that we've achieved, and then lost the capability to repeat. That's amazing and disappointing to me.

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