Thursday, September 13, 2007

Google To The Moon, Alice!

Now there's an era-spanning headline! Allow me to be among the first million people on the web to talk about the latest space-related challenge from the X Prize Foundation, sponsored to the tune of $30 million by our friends at Google. I don't know about you, but I like people (and companies) with deep pockets who do cool things with their money. In this case the prize is for the first private company that can land a robotic rover on the moon and transmit a gigabyte of images and video back to Earth (plus a few other requirements). That's the Google Lunar X Prize, a.k.a. Moon 2.0. Check out the rollout video.

That will probably cost a lot more than $20 million to pull off (the winner gets $20 million, with $5 million for second place and $5 million for above-and-beyond bonuses). But as with the original $10 million Ansari X Prize won in 2004 by SpaceShipOne, it's a cool and highly visible challenge that is bound to attract some serious contenders, notwithstanding the fact that it's a robotic challenge.

Of course first you have to design the the lander and the rover. Hey, I just took four days of SolidWorks 3D CAD training - I bet I can whip off a Moon rover in a couple of weeks! Then you just need to build it, develop the software for it, launch it, stuff like that. Time to clean out the garage. Maybe start with an add-on for Orbiter and simulate the mission first. Think small, think light, think smart...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Hey Google, the Moonrovers Prize was MY idea!!!