Moon Roundup: Rocket Hub

Moon Roundup: Rocket Hub

A Youtube star toured one of the teams, as spacecraft (& crowdfunding) rolled out.

(Image: Ajeeth Ibrahim of Penn State Lunar Lion, who were busy this week with several cool videos.)

This week, in the Google Lunar XPRIZE (your race to the Moon):

  • The Mystery Guitar Man! (Joe Pennatoured team Penn State Lunar Lion
  • New crowdfunding efforts
  • A NASA catalyst for moon exploration
  • And more...

1: The Mystery Guitar Man

Youtube star (and space nerd) Joe Penna, a.k.a. MysteryGuitarMan, took a great tour of team Penn State Lunar Lion !:

Meeting rockets, lasers, robots, & more, he chatted with the ambitious young Moon team as they get ready for their push to the Moon...

2: A Fund Time for the Teams?

Meanwhile, Penn State Lunar Lion  also posted a new video for their mission, as part of their big new crowdfunding campaign on Rockethub:

It's a great introduction, going over their goals, inspirations, and why the Moon race rocks. And they're not alone---team Hakuto  has been busy with their own crowdfunding campaign (and not to mention, their own rocket and robot fun).

Many of the teams are running crowdfunding (and other) campaigns at any given moment---so check out the Teams page, find one (or a few) that you like, and see how you can support them! With donations, work, PR, or otherwise.

3: NASA's Catalyst for Moon Exploration

And speaking of support, NASA's made a splash this week with their new Lunar CATALYST program!

Image: a simulated Moon surface environment at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Swampworks lab. (Florida Today.)

As team Omega Envoy  noted, NASA is offering:

  • NASA Expertise (NASA scientists and engineers consulting and providing technical advice for lander development and/or mission design)
  • Facilities 
  • Equipment
  • Software

...And more, to any commercial enterprise developing missions for the Moon! Which, of course, includes all of our teams (though usuallly, only American teams are eligible for the NASA help. Perhaps other agencies like the European Space Agency and Indian Space Research Organization can follow suit?).

Combined with this year's Milestone Prizes, this should be a big boost for many of the teams!

4: 3D Printing, from Plan B

Team Plan B  posted another of their informative---and regular---video blogs, straight from the lab in Vancouver, British Columbia:

It's a nice look into the week-to-week life of a team bound for the Moon---and at some cool stuff with 3D printing!

5: Getting Crafty

And last but not least, Euroluna  took a look at their fresh-built craft, the Romit-1, which will be embarking on a test run towards the Moon later this year:

That sprightly little spaceship with head to Earth orbit, and then see how far towards the Moon it can get, testing various systems and components all the while.


I'll be rounding up these news items every week, so keep an eye here for the latest developments from the modern 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 16th-January 21st, 2014.]

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