Lunar Roundup: Big News, Big Stakes!
By Nick Azer on October 09, 2012
Welcome to this week’s Lunar Roundup! A power-rankings look at who & what’s been “awesome!” over the last seven days of the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
And it’s been a big week! Synergy Moon will give you a lunar land stake for $987 (!), Odyssey Moon is sending experiments to the ISS, Omega Envoy scored some funding, Astrobotic revealed their newest Polaris rover, and STELLAR’s team interview gave some cool insight to team competition and funding.
The top five highlights of October 2nd-October 8th:
1) Lunar Land Stakes!
Synergy Moon has put a price tag on owning a stake of lunar land: $987!
With their new IndieGoGo, donating the highest level of amount earns you a MoonStake Micro Research Facility certificate:
“This super-exclusive document gives you legal control over nearly a square kilometer of lunar landscape! Your MoonStake will be planted on the Moon’s surface by our Tesla robotic rover during our Google Lunar X-PRIZE mission.” -Synergy Moon’s IndieGoGo, “Space Pioneer” perk (right hand column, all the way down)
Synergy Moon first unveiled these Stakes in August, with the concept being each stake is a research facility, which then grants you a temporary claim to the land around it:
“Current outer space legal theory supports a person, group or company creating a facility and making a temporary claim to a limited area on the moon or anywhere else in the solar system for research, development, mining, etc., with the legal right to remain free of any interference, for as long as the facility is active.” -Synergy Moon
So, by donating $987 to their campaign to launch a mini space telescope, they will in return give you a certificate to one of these stakes (and therefore, a temporary claim on lunar land). The IndieGoGo campaign is offering 26 of these, though you also can get the same certificate by donating $999+ directly to them on their site ('Pioneer' level membership). This could be history in the making---as, potentially, one of first legitimate ways to make claims on lunar land. What do you think?
2) Launching to the ISS!
Odyssey Moon announced that they have partnered with NanoRacks and NSL Satellites, Ltd. for the launching of experiments to the ISS!
“Douglas, Isle of Man-based Odyssey Moon Ltd. and Israeli-based NSL Satellites Ltd., in partnership with NanoRacks LLC of the U.S., together will fly a number of educational microgravity experiments to the International Space Station (ISS).” -Press Release
In fact, some of those experiments were on the successful SpaceX launch this weekend, so they’re already on their way to the ISS!
3) On the Rise!
Omega Envoy scored a funding victory, bringing on 5-D Systems as a sponsor!
“The efforts and successes of these young students and entrepreneurs are essential to ensuring the future of America’s lead role in space exploration.” Steve Fendley, President of 5-D Systems, press release
Raising funds is one of most important---and difficult---aspects of the Lunar X PRIZE, so this is a big step for any team!
4) Polaris Revealed!
Astrobotic announced the completion of their Polaris rover prototype, revealing some of its specs and design!
A big rover, the 8-foot-long Polaris is part of their long-term business plans (the Red Rover being their GLXP effort). Polaris is designed to prospect for water ice and other resources at the lunar poles.
5) STELLAR Interview!
STELLAR’s Stjepan Bedic sat down for their official team interview, and shared some candid insight to the importance of funding (and teams’ approaches to it), as well as STELLAR’s position vs the other teams!:
- Penn State Lunar Lion posted two awesome team member Q+A's: Shayne Bement and Michael Pollicelli!
- Astrobotic talked about visual pose estimation---including an awesome video controlling Red Rover with a cell phone! Great hardware in the background on that one.
- Barcelona Moon shared a cool video about water on the Moon!
I’ll be rounding these up on a weekly basis, so keep an eye here for all the most awesome developments.
For the full skinny on everything that happens, follow the official feeds for team blogs, team social, and team videos!
And if you have any favorite stories that I didn’t post here...share ’em in the comments below!