Moon Race Roundup: Next Generation

Moon Race Roundup: Next Generation

This week, on the road to the Moon…

The next generation of explorers has arrived.

A glimpse of the Team Indus  Moon robot---one of three new Google Lunar XPRIZE designs to be revealed this week!

With the competition heating up, the technology has reached new levels, as three exciting new Moon robots have been revealed!

$6 million in Milestone Prizes are on the line this year, and with that deadline approaching fast, the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams are upping the ante with new editions...

That's Team Indus , hard at work on their new ECA 4.4 Moon rover (which they have revealed in a series of looks):

The ECA 4.4 of Team Indus , in progress.

Indus  hard at work on their new ECA rover.

The team from India not only plan to have a robot that can claim the Mobility (movement) and Imaging (camera) Milestone Prizes this year, but a robot that can reach the Moon by the end 2015 and claim their share of the $30 million in prizes!

They're not alone, though...

As that's Moonraker and Tetris, the Japanese tag-team of Moon rovers from team Hakuto  ! Complete with their sleek, new designs:

These intepid robots will be tethered together by a cable, looking to rappell down into recently-discovered Moon caves---exploring them for the first time ever! But first, they're aiming to claim ther own boost with the Milestone Prizes.

So, what's to see inside a Moon cave, exactly? Here’s a recent TED talk by Hakuto ’s rover development lead, John Walker, on that very subject:

(Catch five more TED talks on the future of space here!)

And they're not the only team with their sights on the Moon caves of Lacus Mortis---as Pittsburgh-based team Astrobotic  has plans there, and revealed their own new rover, Andy, this week, as part of their big field testing!:

Stayed tuned to CNET (and our news section) for more on that test soon...!

The competiton is getting fierce! There's 18 teams in the running; who will claim the bulk of the $6 million Milestones (and an early advantage)? Which robots will win, and which will head to the Moon to claim the total $30 million in prizes? Stay tuned, and visit the teams page to pick your horses for the race!


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 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

[September 27th-October 2nd, 2014.]

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