Moon Roundup: The Eighteen
While five teams were selected for the Milestone Prizes, many more forged on with big progress!
By Nick Azer on February 26, 2014
This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE...
Five teams were selected as finalists for this year's Milestone Prizes---$6 million in optional prizes designed to recognize team achievements for developing key technologies---as all 18 teams proved they're forging ahead to the Moon, with rocket tests, rover battles, sports drinks on the Moon, and more!
Penn State Lunar Lion completed an important (and fiery!) rocket test, annotating what did (and did not) go according to plan:
Sweat, Time Capsules, and Sponsors
Meanwhile, fellow Pennsylvanians Astrobotic scored a major customer: they'll be taking a bottle of the popular Japanese sports drink Pocari Sweat to the Moon!
Like Red Bull and their Stratos jump, space can be a pretty noticable place to advertise---so missions to the Moon are quite the opportunity for any brand to get their name out there! Even for a sports drink.
Shaken, Not Stirred
And speaking of Japan, team Hakuto 's rovers---now named TETRIS & MOONRAKER (how awesome is that?)---got out to the sand dunes for some field tests:
And in a epic battle, Team Indus had students design rovers to potentially make it onto their mission---and smack each other down in a gauntlet of tests:
That one's a must-watch, and there's more to come!
Return of the Jedi
A couple of key players from former Google Lunar XPRIZE teams are back---in new roles with Synergy Moon !
"Curt formed team Seraphim Works to build a rocket powered lander and participate in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. He brings the skeleton of that lander with him to our team, which we will use as a test platform for our lander technology." -Synergy Moon
Interesting developments for the team!
And SpaceIL 's Avi Barliya talked about the ways in which they are making the parts of their spacecraft multi-functional:
ATHLETEs on the Moon
While team Italia blogged about the NASA ATHLETE robot and its influences on their own Moon robot (pictured below):
And last, but not least, there was widespread media coverage of the Milestone Prizes! A rundown (with some of the highlights):
- Discovery News majorly geeked out about the Google Lunar XPRIZE [Video]
- Gigaom gave a smart breakdown
- Space.com broke down the history of the Milestone Prizes
- IEEE looked at how, despite the Milestone selections, all 18 registered teams are definitely still in the running for the grand prizes
- Team Part Time Scientists blogged about the story of their selection
- Mashable dug into the race for the 'eighth continent'
...And that's just the tip of the iceberg! The race is heating up, and the world is catching on...
I'll be rounding up these news items 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!
[February 12th-February 25th, 2014.]