Moon Race Roundup: Bringing the Future
The teams are using 3D printing & other hot tech to drive innovation, and bring the future to today.
This week, on the road to the Moon…
Above: The camera eye of a Japanese Hakuto moon rover. Below: the 3D printed wheels of their rover.
All eyes are on the future---and making it become a reality, now---as the Google Lunar XPRIZE Moon teams utilize 3D printing (and other cutting-edge technology) to make going to the Moon (and space in general) a regularly more cost-effective endeavor.
$6 million in Milestone Prizes are available this year to teams who can buckle down and prove their technology within a tight timeframe, offering a nice power-up to anyone who can rise to the challenges and claim a 2014 edge in the competition, and Hakuto has been busy on that front---as they detail in their latest blog. With 3D printing and Japan's famous robotics expertise behind them in force, they're turning out major space innovation in a hurry as they look to claim some of those Milestone millions.
And they're not the only team utilizing 3D printing on their way to the Moon!:
First-year student Mitchell Lester, fresh out of high school, is now working directly on the future in the form of Penn State Lunar Lion 's piping-hot Moon mission, utilizing 3D printing hands-on for a team who---busy this summer---have just celebrated the opening of their new Mission HQ:
Where they'll be building things like their PUMA test craft:
And this gyrocopter, also used in testing and development of their lunar lander software:
As well as holding all other aspects of their Moon mission! A lot of excitement to come in that building, for sure. And perhaps even a little history...
And speaking of excitement, Hungarian team Puli got their hands on some great laser-cutting tech:
Working on production of their engineering-model Moon rover (with this step being that much closer to their flight-version rover). A rover which recently had an interesting encounter with some sheep:
From the labs of Tokyo, to the fields of Hungary, to the classrooms of Central Pennsylvania, world-class tech is coming together in the hands of young pioneers to get us back to another world---and for a whole lot less money than the first times around! Innovation's in motion, it's in practice, and it's heading to the Moon. Stay tuned! (And before long, we'll all have our own access to space.)
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 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, resident history nerd/blogger dude/Moon advocate extraordinaire
[August 23rd-September 1st, 2014.]