Lunar Roundup: Fresh Frontiers

Lunar Roundup: Fresh Frontiers

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.

Tons of fresh developments and information this week! Astrobotic showed off their cave-exploring robot; Stellar gave a look at their budget (and the challenges of Australian aerospace); Euroluna announced a satellite launch with Indian rockets; Barcelona Moon gave a great inside tour of one of their major space partners; and Team Indus brought out the classical music for an awesome moon-landing animation!

Plus, one of the best sets of Honorable Mentions yet, so check those out too!

Your moon-race highlights for February 19th-February 25th:


1) Cave Crawler!

Astrobotic posted a look at their future cave-crawling robot!:

This is different from their ice-mining Polaris rover (which they hope to win the prize with); the cave crawler here will be part of a future mission to a lunar lava tube (and corresponding skylight entrance). These lava tubes could be a great location for future moon bases!

The rover uses a very unusual method of recharging---since there's no solar power available underground, they're working on a cool new tether system (where the spelunking bot will match up with the hanging wire). Breaking new ground!:

The rover will also apparently catapult things in order to help find its way around. Sounds like an awesome robot!

2) A Stellar Future!

Team Stellar's Robert Brand had a great interview with ABC Sydney--and gave a rough estimate of the cost of Stellar's mission!:

"Well, I think the cost of getting to the Moon is about $30 million for us..." -Robert Brand, at 7:40 in the audio interview

This is really interesting, as team SpaceIL publicly announced that their mission budget is also $30 million (back in october). So, that basically means your average Google Lunar X PRIZE mission costs about $30 million! Not bad with the $20 million prize, right? :)

If you have this, you can send a robot to the Moon! And get $20 million of it back, if you're quick ;)

The well-spoken Brand also talks about the challenges of aerospace in Australia (including 'brain drain'), the fun of DIY-space, and other team/funding details; so check out the audio file and brief text summary for more of this really interesting interview!

3) Launch!

Euroluna announced that they're planning to launch their test satellites, Romit-1 and Romit-2, on an Indian rocket in January 2014!:

They'll be going through the Indian Space Research Organization's commercial corporation, called Antrix. In the video, they also talk about recent success with their testing programs.

Euroluna's been hanging out in India a lot lately, and recently met with Team Indus there...so I'd say keep those ears and eyes tuned for more! 

4) Inside Look!

Barcelona Moon posted a sweet tour of their partner European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company's CASA Espacio space facilities!

The video starts off a little slow, but at 2:47 it gets awesome: an inside look at their major space labs and the awesome people working there! A lot of the folks are working on the big European Space Agency ExoMars project (which team ARCA is also contributing to). Here's the whole video:

5) Classic!

Team Indus posted an animation of their moon landing, with a soothing and 2001-like soundtrack;

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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