Moon Race Roundup: Milestones for Innovation
This week, on the road to the Moon...
Milestones, as the competition to get to the Moon first gets fierce, and the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams progress towards history (and the $6 million in prizes available this year!) with space innovation (and your involvement!):
That there is a photo this week from from Part Time Scientists, who (with their popular Asimov, Jr. robot) had a round of Milestone Prize tests this week! If they succeed in the eyes of the Google Lunar XPRIZE Judges (at proving their Moon technology), they could win a big piece of the early $6 million in prizes available to teams in 2014 (with the full $30 million in prizes available to anyone who can reach the Moon, and complete various challenges, by the end of 2015!). They're one of five teams taking a crack at these early boosts, and claming some could give those teams a big boost for stepping ahead in the race!
This picture of Part Time Scientists and their robot was popular with Morgan Freeman and his Facebook fan base!
Meanwhile, many of the other teams not gunning for the Milestones came in with updates and news this week!
Team Stellar made big progress on a technological project---mini-thrusters that could be used to power swarms of small spacecraft!
The liquid-fueled rocket prototype codenamed "VECTOR" ran its first tests, and is part of Stellar's long-term space plans. Many of the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams are in space for the long run---winning some of the $30 million in prizes available is just the beginning, as the teams look to change the future of space with far more cost-effective technology!
Team Stellar's vaccuum chamber for their VECTOR test.
And some teams are looking to share their innovation---with you!
For more on Plan B, their father-son story, and their 3D printed space hardware, check out this great Google Hangout they did as part of our monthly Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Hangout series:
Team Synergy Moon is also looking to enlist you in help with a simulation project! So if you want to volunteer your CPU power for the benefit of space, check that out!
Meanwhile, fellow spacecraft aspirants Euroluna gave several updates as they traveled to Italy:
And, last but not least, Penn State Lunar Lion has been hard at work on their propulsion system development:
And being epic in general, as Penn State goalie/aerospace engineer Meghan Kaminski, her story, and her (colorful) presence on the Penn State squad was featured!
People from all walks of life are taking all kinds of approaches to folllowing their dreams---and making space more accessible for everyone with lower-cost technology. Innovation at work! Stay tuned as these stories continue and progress back to the Moon is made every week...
I round these up every week---as the teams march forward towards history----so keep an eye here for the latest developments from your space race! You can also sign up for the XPRIZE newsletter to get exciting innovation news in your inbox, and follow the #GLXP on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook (where yours truly is your community manager for all things awesome happening in space today).
-Nick Azer, resident history nerd/geek/content curator and community manager
[October 10th-October 16th, 2014.]