Moon Roundup: The Big Picture
The competition hits the big screen, while the mission-cost-to-prize ratio is explained.
By Nick Azer on October 30, 2013
This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE…
The vessel for a new era of exploration.
The big picture is shaping up---as the competition hits the big screen, big audiences, and big dreams.
Just the Beginning
Moon Express ' Tim Pickens, a famed rocket veteran, was interviewed, talking about the 'big picture' (and his work in Alabama):
“The prize is not the centerpiece of our business model...
We’d love to win it, but we have to have a sustainable business model.” -Tim Pickens
The Google Lunar XPRIZE, really, is just a beginning---kindling for a spark, if you will.
The scenario we face is similar to, say, the original exploration of the Americas (to go back a ways): Columbus went first in 1492, but the actual colonies didn't spring up for decades, until the means (and the extra knowledge & motivation) were there to figure out just how to solve that problem of actually sticking around for a while.
It's a tough problem to solve for the Moon (going there in a way you can sustain, without needing, say, a cold war and 2-5% of a nation's entire GDP behind you), but this $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is designed to be an inspiration, motivation, and incentive for people to get thinking about how to go about doing it: the so-called "impossible" of a sustainable Moon plan.
And to spread the word on how the teams are, in fact, accomplishing this, the Google Lunar XPRIZE is hitting the big screens.
“Back to the Moon For Good” is a new full-dome planetarium movie, narrated by Tim Allen (the voice of Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story”). Telling the story of our race back to the Moon, this visually-spectacular documentary will be debuting for audiences worldwide (19 countries, six continents) next month.
Made by the award-winning NSC Creative, the show is already getting some great reviews:
"Excellent show! Gave me goosebumps." - Jason Alderman
And speaking of hitting the screen, team SpaceIL is now airing a (pretty awesome) TV ad across Israel:
Meanwhile, the people on the teams continue to work towards that goal of the Moon.
Omega Envoy introduced Tanya Emmons, and talked to her about her daily work goals and longer-term inspirations:
A Legend of Space
Michael Pollicelli of Penn State Lunar Lion explained an awesome visitor they had (pioneer-astronaut Guy Bluford), his role in history, and the heritage of Penn State within space:
And for a different kind of pioneer, Puli ’s Moon robots have been busy:
Rocking out to that soundtrack & good crowds, while also facing a showdown for which robot will make the trip to Hawaii for their big test run:
Italia ’s Ladyfly robot flexed its muscles (gears?) as it continues to get ready for the Moon:
While Astrobotic 's Moon efforts were featured in a video on the rise of robotics in Pittsburgh:
And, last but not least, Hakuto had some kids in Japan take control of their rovers (using just a tablet/mobile device):
- Synergy Moon ’s parent company, Interorbital Systems, completed an important rocket test!
- Barcelona Moon posted a new Spanish-language presentation.
I'll be rounding these up every week, so keep an eye here for the latest developments from the moon race!
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!
[October 23rd-October 29th, 2013.]