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Moon Roundup: The Race Tightens

Moon Roundup: The Race Tightens

The race has tightened, as several teams withdraw, and teams make important progress.

This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE…

Getting closer...

As China’s Yutu rover landed on the Moon, things continued to heat up around the Google Lunar XPRIZE---as several teams withdrew, tightening the field down to 18! While the teams made more and more progress...

The Race Tightens

It was long expected that in 2013, the race to the Moon would begin to tighten---and it has! Five teams have decided to officially withdraw from the competition, though they all have exciting new prospects that they are turning to:

Image: the updated race.

"While we are sad to say goodbye to teams, we are delighted that the technology and expertise gained through participation in the Google Lunar XPRIZE is already being used to create businesses and jobs, both in the space sector and in other fields." -Alex Hall, Senior Director, Google Lunar XPRIZE

The departing teams have Mars, CubeSats, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, helping other Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, and more in their sights---check out the official blog post by GLXP gal Alex Hall for the full skinny!

Turns out we're driving innovation not just to the Moon, but to many other places as well!

Be sure to stay tuned, as the remaining 18 teams head into the exciting 'playoffs' stretch run of 2014 & 2015...

Rocket Test

Speaking of the stretch run, one team to make important progress this week was Penn State Lunar Lion ---who had a successful rocket test!

"Successful biprop rocket engine hot fire! Video to come! One step closer to the moon!" - Penn State Lunar Lion [Image source.]

Vegas Reveal

Another team making big progress this week was Moon Express , who shared a few videos on their very popular Moon-lander unveiling:

With some pretty famous folks--Richard Branson and Barney Pell---giving shout-outs!:

A Week in the Life

Meanwhile, team Plan B  gave a neat look into the  'week in the life' of a Google Lunar XPRIZE team:

Taking a detailed dive into the day to day challenges they face, they look at how they plan out their work; the advantages of a SpaceX launch vs. others (including a look at the respective launch manuals ); their planning of where to land on the Moon; and more!

Metals Testing

In addition, Plan B  also shared an update about their metals testing---the cool ways in which they make sure that the metals for their craft can survive an adventure to the Moon:

Living The Dream

What's it like to be a student diving into the work of one of the teams? 

PSU's Onward State featured a great look at Penn State Lunar Lion  team member Phillip Chow (pictured above), and his experience going from an excited youth to a student working on a mission to the Moon:

"The project’s goal of reaching the moon was overwhelming to Chow at first, but that feeling quickly passed after he learned that the mission could be broken into small, approachable steps." -Onward State

Living his dreams---one step at a time!

CEO

Meanwhile, team SpaceIL  has added a new CEO: Dr. Eran Privman!

Prized Mission

And last but not least, team Stellar  has revealed more details of their stratospheric balloon mission (and contest)---including big prizes for students!

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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!

~Nick Azer

[December 11th-December 17th, 2013.]

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