Lunar Roundup: Bring Your Heat Shields...

Lunar Roundup: Bring Your Heat Shields...

Welcome to this week’s Lunar Roundup! A power rankings-style look at who & what’s been “Awesome!” over the past week in the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

This week was one for the heat shields! Moon Express' thermal lead did a webcast; Part Time Scientists sweated through Axe Apollo; Barcelona Moon unveiled some firepower; NASAWatch set off some sparks; and Tim Pickens slapped rockets on a truck (among other things).

Your moon-race highlights for February 12th-February 18th:


1) Warmup!

Moon Express' thermal lead, Mike Vergalla, sat down for an awesome hour-long webcast with NASA's MyMoon and Cosmoquest! He talked about life at Moon Express, the 'eighth continent', where to land on the Moon, the best resources to find there, and more:

2) Axe Apollo!

One of Part Time Scientists' team members, Tom Schachner, finished 55th in the German round of Axe Apollo!  

Voting is now over for Germany, but for the US it's still open until April 27th, and other countries vary---so check out yours and help get someone to space :)

Here's Buzz Aldrin explaining the competition:

3) Spanish Castle Magic!

Team Barcelona Moon introduced their technical leaders of their mission----established space firm GMV (and some of their technical managers!):


4) Friendly Debate!

NASAWatch, the blog of controversial space firebrand Keith Cowing, sparked a lively debate about who's winning in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and how that's actually determined at any given point.

This led to a very lively round of Twitter-sparks between Cowing and Moon Express over semantics, team SpaceIL, and an outdated Moon Express blog.

Here's a transcript of the good old-fashioned Twitter throwdown:

"NASAWatch: Looks like @TeamSpaceIL has raised $20 m - much more than @Moon_Ex has raised http://bit.ly/Yp4WKU  #GLXP
Moon Express: @NASAWatch A $20M investment into the #GLXP would be wonderful if true. Our Founder/CEO is the founder of @TeamSpaceIL partner Odyssey Moon
NASAWatch: [email protected]_Ex are you saying that the article about @TeamSpaceIL re: $20 m investment is not true? How would you know? #GLXP
Moon Express: @NASAWatch We're saying @TeamSpaceILis AWESOME & we hope there is a $20M donation, but you can't believe everything journalists say #GLXP
NASAWatch: @Moon_Ex Why are you hosting a design contest for a building that you are not moving into? Check your website:http://bit.ly/VsbwRN  #GLXP
Moon Express: [email protected] Thanks for pointing out the stale blog from Oct 1. We can't rewrite history but we'll put a note on it that the contest is over.
Moon Express: We agree! :) RT @choctawman: NASAWatch jeez, lay off @Moon_Ex. These aggressive tweets sound a bit personal today. #GLXP
NASAWatch: @Moon_Ex Ahem ... you're the one who repeatedly doubted report that @TeamSpaceIL has raised $20m Pot-Kettle-Black #GLXP"

Ouch! Nothing like a little drama to liven things up, right? Another sign the competition really is beginning to heat up! :)

For the record, SpaceIL announced back in October (before their joint team agreement with Odyssey Moon) that they had $16.5 million in funding; it's mentioned beginning at the 1:11 mark in the video below:

And Moon Express has subsequently added a note to the blog post & contest in question.

5) Good Pickens!

Tim Pickens was officially announced as Moon Express' Chief Propulsion Engineer, and with a fun (and somewhat WWE-style) introduction---lots of pyrotechnics! :D Watch as Tim explains how he slaps rockets to trucks and other things:

The announcement also includes the establishment of Moon Express' Huntsville, AL office

Honorable Mentions:


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!

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