Lunar Roundup: Evolution

Lunar Roundup: Evolution

The BBC features the XPRIZE in a documentary while teams show off rockets, rovers, and cannons.

990 Days Left. Your moon-race highlights for April 9th-April 15th...

Back from the 2013 Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Summit, the teams---and the XPRIZE itself---are rounding a corner and getting set for a huge year. With two and a half years left to get to the Moon before the clock runs out, it’s go-time now, and the teams are definitely ready for it.

Now, keen eyes might have noticed something different there...

A Space Out

As part of the competition’s evolution, “X PRIZE” is now going to be “XPRIZE”. As one Justin Timberlake said during The Social Network: “It’s cleaner.”

The media presence (and video awesome) of the XPRIZE is going to be increasing a lot this year, and here’s one key example:

Tomorrow’s World

The BBC featured the XPRIZE front-and-center in a special on ‘Tomorrow’s World’!

They talked with Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation, about his personal story and what led to this moon race, while also showing an unprecedented inside look at Moon Express and bunch of other great team material.

The segment runs from 1:29 to 9:00 in the video, and might be one of the best I've seen:

Shoot to Thrill

Not to be outdone, the teams are looking to ‘shoot to thrill’ with their videos, too---in this case, literally.

Astrobotic broke out a little bit of Star Wars & AC/DC while firing a cannon at things for testing:

So, you might ask...why does a moon robot need a cannon? One potential use is for cave lurking. Specifically, chucking lights around so they can see while maneuvering underground:

Or, alternatively, for launching things off of or around the lunar surface (much like in a certain sci-fi movie, where a character escapes to Earth from the Moon via cannon-projectile).

‘Chuting for Mars

Moon rovers (and cannons...) are not the only thing teams are building---team ARCA showed off their work on a parachute-test rocket for the international ExoMars mission:

They’ve officially completed the first phase of their test program as of this week.

Nice Specs

Rockets and cannons are cool, but rovers and landers are a core of the Google Lunar XPRIZE's awesome---and the teams showed off some of theirs.

Barcelona Moon released the specs for their mission (image below; click here to embiggen) and talked about their payload space (blog post in Spanish):

While team Stellar broke out their new mockup prototype, and its development:

Life in the Lab

So, what is life in the lab like while making these rovers and rockets? Omega Envoy posted some great photos of their day-to-day building rovers and other awesome tech:

Xaero-ing In

Building these things is great, but testing them can be even better: Astrobotic announced that they have a new working contract with NASA to use Masten Space Xaero rockets for guidance tests:


A little fire is always good, and JURBAN team member Blaze Sanders lived up to his name, showing off his start on a welding project for their lunar lander:


And for a little verbal fire, Penn State Lunar Lion’s Michael Paul took the stage for a TED talk on the question: just what is it about space that gets people inspired?

Honorable Mentions:


I’ll be rounding these up every week, so keep an eye here for the best stories & developments from our very own moon race.

For the full skinny on everything that happens, follow the official feeds for all team blogs, all team social, and all team videos.

If you find any favorite stories from the week that didn’t make it in here...share them below!

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