Moon Roundup: Cool Robots Everywhere

Moon Roundup: Cool Robots Everywhere

A busy week, with cool robots all over the place! Competing, mining, and getting ready for space.

This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE...

An action-packed week, as teams introduced their Moon missions (and robots!) in detail---including this little guy:

A student-built robot, if he meets the mettle of Team Indus , he could make it onto their mission to the Moon!

More on him, and all kinds of other cool robots, below:

Robot Showdown

Team Indus  is holding an ongoing challenge---called the Lunar Rover Challenge---where student teams are building miniature rovers for inclusion on Indus' eventual trip to the Moon!

And as you can see here, they posted a bunch of cool photos from the most recent robot showdown.

Taking on challenges, there's not word yet on which of these robots came out on top---but there's sure to be more details soon, so stay tuned!

Xbox Mining

Meanwhile, on the opposite end of the rover-size spectrum, Astrobotic 's big Polaris Moon-mining bot was featured by the Pittsburgh Business Times!

In a fun video, the moon miner "mines" some simulated Moon dust as engineer Steve McGuire pilots the machine with an Xbox controller, explaining its awesomeness as he goes.

An Evan Star on the Moon?

And speaking of fun videos, precocious Youtube kid star EvanTube took an inside look at Penn State Lunar Lion :

There's an epic full-mission animation in there, as well as information on the family trio's cool contribution to the Lunar Lion's popular crowdfunding campaign (Evan gets to have this message sent from, and preserved on, the Moon---as one of the campaign perks).

Planning B

Team Plan B  shared some cool imagery of their rover, spacecraft, and more!

 In addition, they checked in with their weekly update, offering fun insights into the day-to-day life as a Moon explorer and the tech they are working with:

Launching and Landing

Meanwhile, SpaceIL  talked about both their launch, and their landing!

"Is the spacecraft built?

We have a prototype and in 2014 we will begin full-scale production. It is about the size of a dishwasher, about 300 pounds, 80 percent of which is the propulsion system. 

Where will the launch take place?

We are looking for a site in the U.S. or Russia. " -Daniel Saat, interview with The New York Jewish Week

The complete interview is really interesting, and a worthy read.

And while Daniel Saat was talking all about the launch arrangements, the team's Ayelet Klein talked about how they're going about selecting a place to land on the Moon:


While building, launching, and landing a moon rover are big challenges---there's other challenges, too; like, government!:

Søren of Euroluna  talked about the preparations for a test mission they are undertaking---including the mountains of paperwork, such as letting governments know their little spacecraft isn't a war machine. 'Fun', but important, times for the teams! Expect to see Euroluna's Romit-1 test mission into space later this year.

Motoring On

And last but not least, Team Stellar 's Viko Klein talked about what's been going into their prototype rover, and everything that's been rolling lately for the team:

Honorable Mentions:


I'll be rounding up these news items every week, so keep an eye here for the latest developments from the moon race!

And 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

[January 22nd-January 28th, 2014.]

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