Thursday, February 26, 2015

NASCAR: Google launching satellite to moon

Google Moon Mission NASCAR

The Lunar XPrize is a $30 million competition for a privately-funded mission to get to the moon, land a rover, and travel across the Moon sending back images and telemetry. The Google-sponsored prize has been around since 2007, but it looks like first place is going to come down to a mad dash across the lunar surface.

The HAKUTO And Astrobotic

Although there's technically a bunch of teams remaining in the competition, two of the frontrunners - the Japanese HAKUTO team, and Astrobotic - have teamed up to deploy their missions to the moon next year, aboard the same SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. First place in the Lunar X competition will go to the first robot that explores at least 500 meters and transmits HD video and images back to Earth. You can see where this is going.
In a press release, Astrobotic's CEO said that "we envision a 'NASCAR on the Moon' scenario, where competing teams land together, and countries can cheer on their team to the finish line. HAKUTO is the first team signed to fulfill our dream of the first race beyond Earth's orbit."
Although travelling 500 meters doesn't sound like much of a race, you have to bear in mind the kind of vehicles being used here. NASA's Curiosityrover, for example, the most technologically advanced vehicle to land on Mars, is cruising along at a barnstorming 30 metres per hour.
Then you've got the other challenges to consider - getting into orbit sans explosion, landing successfully, and not breaking down in the first 100 meters. If these brand-new companies without the budget or experience of NASA can pull it off, it will be a major milestone for private space exploration - not to mention a whole new world of commercial opportunity for NASCAR

About the Author

Prejeesh Sreedharan

Author & Editor

I am a Biotechnologist very much interested in #SciTech (Science And Technology). I closely follow the developments in medical science and life science. I am also very enthusiast in the world of electronics, information technology and robotics. I always looks for ways to make complicated things simpler. And I always believes simplest thing is the most complicated ones.

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