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Moon Race Roundup: Fun With The Moon

Moon Race Roundup: Fun With The Moon

By Nick Azer  on September 15, 2014

Going to the Moon (as the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams are doing with their Moon robots) can be a lot of fun, but it also requires dreams, tenacity, imagination,  innovation, and... large quantities of alcohol? (Pictured above: Penn State University student engineer Michael Policelli with a large container of pure alcohol.)

In the case of university-led Google Lunar XPRIZE team Penn State Lunar Lion , yes---but, not for drinking! (Seriously!)

The team has been using pure alcohol to fuel their important Moon-lander-thruster-rocket tests, as featured awesomely by Discovery Channel's Daily Planet show:

It's a great feature (found---not embeddable---on Episode #130, September 10th 2014, as the first 8 minutes of the show) on the trials, tribulations, adjustments, more trials, comedy, even more trials/tribulations, and then (finally) success found by the bold young students of Penn State, who are putting together their own mission to the Moon in order to claim the Google Lunar XPRIZE's $20 million grand prize.

And that wasn't the only feature on the team this week, either, as the York Daily Record also did a great piece on them, with a lot of interesting quotes:

"A good model rocket travels a very short distance, and it just needs to land back in the yard you launched it from. We want to land in a spot we've identified on the moon that's like a mile circle. The craft is going to travel more than 250,000 miles to get there. This is very technically challenging." - Michael Paul, team lead, Penn State Lunar Lion

Meanwhile, Croatian-based Google Lunar XPRIZE team Stellar  posted a video of their big visit this past spring---to the President of Croatia!

It's not every day you get to show off your Moon mission to the President of your country. Shooting for the Moon leads to great things! Like meeting presidents, and getting to wear a ten-gallon hard hat.

Yes, wearing a ten-gallon hard hat.  Having fun with Moon technology and progress in Pennsylvania this week was CNET's Tim Stevens (above) and his fellow CNET crew, who were geeking out at Astrobotic 's major field test this week as part of their ongoing coverage of this year's Google Lunar XPRIZE Milestone Prizes.

Stay tuned for more exciting news to come from that field test... Pennsylvania's becoming a more and more important place by the day for our future in space! And the Moon race is heating up as teams duke it out for $6 million in prizes that could give them a big edge...


I'll be rounding these up every week---as the teams march forward towards history----so keep an eye here for the latest developments from your moon race!

For the full skinny on *everything* that happens, follow the official feeds for team blogsteam social, and team videos. You can also sign up for the XPRIZE newsletter to get cool PRIZE news in your inbox!

-Nick Azer

[September 5th-September 11th, 2014].

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