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NASA Space The Almighty Buck

NASA Offering $2 Million Prize for Lunar Lander 159

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-hard-could-it-be dept.
coondoggie writes "If you build it, NASA will not only come, it'll give you $2 million dollars for your troubles. The space agency today said it will offer $2 million in prizes if competing teams can successfully build a lunar lander at the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge at Holloman Air Force Base, in Alamogordo, N.M. Oct. 27 and 28th. To win the prize, teams must demonstrate a rocket-propelled vehicle and payload that takes off vertically, climbs to a defined altitude, flies for a pre-determined amount of time, and then lands vertically on a target that is a fixed distance from the launch pad. After landing, the vehicle must take off again within a predetermined time, fly for a certain amount of time and then land back on its original launch pad."
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NASA Offering $2 Million Prize for Lunar Lander

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  • Economics? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:29PM (#21107541) Homepage
    The thing I always wondered about these kinds of contests, like the x prize, is doesn't it cost more to build your craft than you win?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shaneFalco (821467)
      Call it a labor of love.... the guys that go for it are not so much interested in making it rich but in contributing to the next space landing...... Super Geeks... with a capital S
    • Re:Economics? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Xeth (614132) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:33PM (#21107587) Journal
      For a full-scale thing? Probably. But this is a much easier challenge. From TFA:

      There are two levels of difficulty, with awards for first and second place at each level. Level 1 requires a vehicle to take off vertically from a designated launch area, climb to an altitude of at least 150 feet , remain aloft for at least 90 seconds while traveling horizontally to a landing pad 300 feet away, then land vertically. Level 2, which is a more difficult course, requires a vehicle to take off from a designated launch area, ascend to an altitude of 150 feet, hover for 180 seconds, then land precisely on a simulated, rocky, lunar surface 300 feet away.
      I think this is really geared toward groups of students, and clever entrepreneurs.
      • I'm sure the rules have something to disqualify it but a $100 model helicopter will do all the things described.
        • by kimvette (919543)

          I'm sure the rules have something to disqualify it

          They sure do.

          If we RTFA we will note:

          To win the prize, teams must demonstrate a rocket-propelled [emphasis mine. -Kim] vehicle and payload that takes off vertically, climbs to a defined altitude, flies for a pre-determined amount of time, and then land vertically on a target that is a fixed distance from the launch pad.

          If we RTFS we will note:

          To win the prize, teams must demonstrate a rocket-propelled [emphasis mine. -Kim] vehicle and payload that takes of

          • Granted, a helicopter would not work on the airless Moon. Granted, a wheeled (or caterpillared) rover may not be suitable for large distances either.

            But there may be other designs. For example, the macropods [wikipedia.org] are able to hop over long distances using relatively little energy. The tendons in their large (macro) legs (pods) act as springs allowing them to reuse about 70% of the energy for the next jump (humans only reuse 5-10% on each step).

            I suppose, a vehicle could be built to use the same principle [wikipedia.org]. It

            • by Rolgar (556636)
              I remember seeing a comment or article on Slashdot that said the spacesuits used on the moon became unusable within hours of use of being on the moon because of the damaging nature of moon dust. Because of the lack of wind and water, there is no erosion to soften the dust, and it acts like miniature spikes that damage everything we put up on the moon. Because of the damaging nature of moon dust, and the low gravity that allows a simple kick to send dust high enough to coat just about anything, the more con
        • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @10:28PM (#21109081)
          Yeah, the rules specifically state that it has to be entirely rocket-powered.

          A.4.2 Vehicle must take-off vertically utilizing only rocket power from Point A. No aerodynamic or air-breathing methods of hovering, propulsion, steering, or landing are permitted except in the case of abort.

          Sucks, as I didn't see that until I'd already built a lander with repulsorlifts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by servognome (738846)

      The thing I always wondered about these kinds of contests, like the x prize, is doesn't it cost more to build your craft than you win?
      But if you win you are the leader for any big money contracts that follow.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        If you win, your project will probably be hijacked by the lowest bidder that actually wins the contract.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        The thing I always wondered about these kinds of contests, like the x prize, is doesn't it cost more to build your craft than you win?

        But if you win you are the leader for any big money contracts that follow.

        Not in this case - because the contestants are going to be universities and small private teams, which in no way have the ability to develop, design, and manufacture a real lunar lander. (Nor even to manage such an effort.)

        This prize really is something of a boondoggle for the taxpayers - be

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Grave (8234)
          Actually it makes complete sense. The idea isn't so much to actually find a viable lunar lander design (though it is possible for it to happen), as it is to generate interest and excitement about it. At the moment, space exploration barely gets any attention on the nightly news, and despite many other countries planning for moon trips, the public doesn't seem to be very interested in it. On the other hand, if you asked most people if they believe we'll still be limited to the Earth in a hundred or two hu
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DerekLyons (302214)
            Here's the thing - this 'get the public interested' card has been played again and again - and it never works. The general public simply isn't interested in space travel, and except very briefly in the 1960's - never was. The public isn't stupid and sees stunts for what they are.
             
            As for space not being in the nightly news - why should it be? Like Antarctic exploration, it has become routine. Routine stuff, especially stuff with low viewer interest never makes the news.
            • by Grave (8234)
              Murder is more routine than space exploration. Iraqi bombings are more routine than space exploration.

              When we do return humans to the moon or finally get to Mars, you can bet your ass that the news will cover it, and that a hundred million people (or more) will probably be glued to their TVs. Maybe the space exploration we do now isn't all that exciting to most folks (robotic landers and explorers can't compete with humans for that), but people will still take notice when something as amazing as people wa
              • Ah yes, when unable to reply to the issues at hand - hyberbole and handwaving are always a rational alternative.
    • Re:Economics? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RedWizzard (192002) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:13PM (#21107987)

      The thing I always wondered about these kinds of contests, like the x prize, is doesn't it cost more to build your craft than you win?
      These sorts of prizes are not intended to be money making schemes for the competitors. They are intended to offset development costs for technology that has value in its own right. For example Scaled Composites did not spend $20M or whatever to win the X Prize in 2004, they were developing a commercial venture that happened to be close to the X Prize requirements. Similarly Armadillo Aerospace are not building rockets just to compete in the LLC, rather the LLC happens to be something they can compete in without radically altering the direction of the development they were already doing. Though if they won both levels they would recoup the majority of their costs.
      • For example Scaled Composites did not spend $20M or whatever to win the X Prize in 2004, they were developing a commercial venture that happened to be close to the X Prize requirements.

        You are correct - Scaled Composites didn't spend a dime. Burt Rutan was quite clear he wasn't going to enter the contest until a) the prize was fully funded, and b) he found a backer. When both happened, he tossed his hat in the ring.

        The commercial venture came about after this - and from a third party.

        • Scaled Composites didn't spend a dime.
          Apologies. I should have said "Paul Allen did not spend $20M+ to win the X Prize in 2004..."

          The point is that the prize did not cover the costs of development and the development did not happen because of the prize. That point is just as valid whether Scaled Composites, Rutan personally, or an external backer who funded the development.

          • The point is that the prize did not cover the costs of development and the development did not happen because of the prize.

            Your first point is correct, but your second point is not. Without the prize, Burt never seeks a backer. Without a backer to pay for development, development never starts.
    • by WED Fan (911325)
      I think I could do it, using the tumbler from a cement truck and some off the shelf hardware.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Skrapion (955066)
      Actually, this isn't like the X Prize, this is the X Prize. It's part of the Google Lunar X Prize [googlelunarxprize.org], which, as the name implies, is in being offered by Google and the X Prize Foundation.
    • I already have my design [wikipedia.org] ready.
  • NASA will not only come

    Too... Easy...
    • America is dying (Score:5, Insightful)

      by megaditto (982598) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:33PM (#21108191)
      $2M for a working rocket spaceship
      $2B for a half-assed video hosting site Youtube

      I am the only one saddened by this?
      • by Plutonite (999141) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @09:08PM (#21108443)
        No, you missed the big news:

        15B for a "social-networking" website where people can "poke" each other and buy each other little gifts that are pictures of teddy bears and ducks.

      • I'm not, as it's a weird comparison. One is a prize for completing a project, the other is the worth of a company. One involves repeating what Robert Goddard was doing 75 years ago (with a grant equivalent to $60000 in 2007 dollars) in slightly larger scale with a modern control system. The other involves streaming ten million videos a day all over the planet.

        Next up: The world isn't fair, as my house is worth less than the salaries of all McDonalds employees put together.
      • Don't be so negative. Given a choice, I would pay $2 million for a working spaceship and let some idiot pay $2 billion for a website any day. That's a hell of a lot better than the other way around!
  • Great! (Score:1, Troll)

    by Xeth (614132)
    Maybe next they can provide a $2000 prize for climbing Mount Everest?* *Note: must supply own climbing tools, tents, fuel, oxygen, clothes, and sherpas
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:31PM (#21107573)
    I haven't been paying attention much to other groups, but Armadillo Aerospace is already very close to meeting that mission profile.
    • Armadillo Aerospace is already very close to meeting that mission profile.

      And I'll bet they've spent a lot more than 2 million. NASA may end up paying out on this, but it will be to an existing established aerospace company that has already spent much more than 2 mil.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DoktorFaust (564453)
        To answer your questions -- apparently Armadillo will be the only team competing this year [livescience.com]. According to last year's wrap up [armadilloaerospace.com] they spent "...six months and about a quarter million dollars in direct pursuit of this...". Of course, more money has been spent since then, but even if they quadrupled the amount they spent, they'd still come out way ahead.
        • they spent "...six months and about a quarter million dollars in direct pursuit of this..."
          Yes they did. But they haven't won yet, they have no lander. I'm saying it can't be done for anywhere near 2 mil.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by RedWizzard (192002)

            But they haven't won yet, they have no lander. I'm saying it can't be done for anywhere near 2 mil.

            They haven't won yet, but they have successfully flown the level one mission [armadilloaerospace.com] outside of competition. So they certainly do have a lander. I don't know if their costs have exceed $2M, but if they have it won't have been by much. Carmack makes the point in this post [armadilloaerospace.com] that their vehicle is probably the first rocket in history to have more spent on consumables than on the vehicle itself:

            Pixel had more rocket powered flight time that weekend than Space Ship One had in all of its flights combined. We have also spent more on operational consumables (helium, lox, alcohol, truck rental) than the vehicle itself cost, which is probably a first for any rocket vehicle.

            That means the costs so far are almost certainly below $2M.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:34PM (#21107593) Homepage
    The space agency today said it will offer $2 million in prizes if competing teams can successfully build a lunar lander

    Do they give you a bonus for also constructing a sound stage that looks like a lunar surface?
  • Surely the mechanics of the device would be significantly different on the moon vs. on Earth?
    Surely the enormous difference in atmospheric pressure and gravity mean the only thing that's reasonably useful is the guidance mechanism?

    Any rocket scientists out there have any idea what the real benefit of the challenge is?
    • pfft, just multiply every occurence of g by 1/6. Also set every air resistance constant to 0.

      I keed, I keed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SamP2 (1097897)
      Agree to that. The 6x gravity on Earth vs moon, as well as all ballistic and overheating problems associated with the atmosphere, would not be present on the moon. For other issues it's vice versa, like requiring a completely airtight compartment for lunar landing and withstanding the pressure difference (BTW, due to properties of material resistance, building a vessel that has internal pressure higher than external (spaceship, lander) is MUCH tougher than a vessel with external pressure higher than interna
      • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:15PM (#21108003)
        ah but that is the point. without having to deal with air resistance, and only 1/6 the gravity if you can go 150 feet up on earth you can easily go 1000 feet away from the moon. You also need that increase in fuel as one would be trying to reach lunar orbit. which because of the amazing 1/6 gravity difference is a heck of a lot easier.

        So any vessel that could survive in earth's atmosphere doing such tests would be already 75% done for lunar module.

        Also the company that does it will most likely win the $2 billion dollar contract to build the lunar module for the government. or at least $100 million dollar help us get started fee.
        • If that's the point, I don't get it. It means the engine has to be way over-engineered relative to what's needed for the moon, with huge mass penalties, which boost the fuel requirements, which boost the mass even more... It would almost make more sense to me if they permitted you to use floatation to offset 5/6 of the weight.
          • by powerlord (28156)
            No because the other 5/6ths of the weight might be needed for things like a larger enclosed cabin for the crew, supplies, a moon rover, return storage (rocks, aliens, odd black monoliths).

            In this case, its extra payload space/capacity that is unneeded in an Earth lander (within the definitions of the contest), but would be very useful in a Moon lander.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Orange Crush (934731)
        Wouldn't overheating be an even bigger problem on the moon? There's no atmosphere to conduct/convect away waste heat.
    • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:53PM (#21107809)

      Any rocket scientists out there have any idea what the real benefit of the challenge is?
      IINARS. But, I can think of why this would be beneficial. If you can meet the challenge here on Earth, and you can do it for round-bouts $2 million, then you have figured out how to do a complex task very cheaply. NASA won't be sending a slightly-modified version of your lander to the moon, but they may well come away with some cost-saving ideas.

      And then there's the whole fun of it.
      • I really should not have gone into CS for college. I can't tell you the number of times someone has started something by saying "Well, I'm not a rocket scientist, but..." where I would abso-frickin-lootley love to be able to break into their conversation and say "Well, I AM!"
    • by e9th (652576)
      I can see one significant difference:

      ...competing teams have the option to refuel their vehicle before conducting the required return level to the original starting point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by camperdave (969942)
      The more difficult course, Level 2, requires the rocket to hover for twice as long before landing precisely on a simulated lunar surface, packed with craters and boulders to mimic actual lunar terrain. The hover times are calculated so that the Level 2 mission closely simulates the power needed to perform the real lunar mission.http://space.xprize.org/lunar-lander-challenge/ [xprize.org]
      • The hover times are calculated so that the Level 2 mission closely simulates the power needed to perform the real lunar mission.

        The power isn't anywhere within an order of magnitude of what will be needed to perform a real lunar mission. The landers participating in the prize competition don't have a science payload, don't have the thermal control systems, don't have the power systems, etc..., etc... Nor do these vehicles have to be strong enough to take the stress of a rocket launch. (And that 25kg 'pa

    • by lexarius (560925)
      At the last minute, NASA will announce that the launch site is somewhere in Texas, and the fixed landing site for the test will be in the Sea of Tranquility. Teams are, as mentioned in the rules, welcome to refuel their craft before the return trip if they like, of course. I think this would be a good test of the robustness of their solutions ;)
    • Funnily enough, people have thought of that. The requirements of the level 2 challenge is roughly akin to what they'd actually need to land on the moon for real. One of the major novelties is the requirement for repeated flights; as far as I know no space mission has ever really achieved that kind of turnaround.

      In some ways, it's probably tougher on Earth, because you don't have the wind to deal with on the moon.

    • Surely the mechanics of the device would be significantly different on the moon vs. on Earth?

      Here's what the previous one looked like for the last go-round - However, it had turbofans, not rockets:

      http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/movie/LLRV/HTML/EM-0019-06.html [nasa.gov]

  • Who's with me? All we need is some VC and a marketing wonk to bring in the VC.

    /not joking

  • CHA (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @07:38PM (#21107629) Homepage
    Nevermind the lander... Given that Microsoft paid $240 million for 1% of facebook, how long until someone offers a milti-million dollar prize to build a laser that can carve their corporate logo into the surface of the moon?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SpaceLifeForm (228190)
      I was just thinking a Ballmer flying chair could win this prize.

      Of course, we'd have to ship Ballmer to the moon, but that would be an easy problem to solve.

      • Ballmer to the moon, but that would be an easy problem to solve.

        Ballmer's hot air could get him at least to the upper atmosphere.

        He is so full of shit he could prolly light his farts and make it the rest of the way....

  • We've seen the X prize for private space travel, so why isn't there an X prize for the lunar lander? Or is the X foundation saying they think it's already been done and hence not really in need of a monetary prize for doing it again?
  • by r00b (923145)
    I just copied the actual lunar lander, and added this cool racing stripe.
  • A company from long island should try. The cradle of aviation museum has one of the original landers. It was going to be used on one of the missions that got cancelled. That would be a great recource in building another one. (Long Island was home to grumman before they went under and got bought by northrop)
  • Now we all know (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by SamP2 (1097897)
    That Facebook is worth [slashdot.org] 750 lunar landers.
  • I think this loosly describes throwing a ball twice upwards and catching it, as long as you can do it in a predictable way.
    • I think this loosly describes throwing a ball twice upwards and catching it, as long as you can do it in a predictable way.
      Or in other terms, rocket propelled juggling
  • Prior art (Score:2, Funny)

    by dotancohen (1015143)

    ...takes off vertically, climbs to a defined altitude, flies for a pre-determined amount of time, and then land vertically on a target that is a fixed distance from the launch pad. After landing, the vehicle must take off again within a predetermined time, fly for a certain amount of time and then land back on its original launch pad.
    Er, don't helicopters do this? Grow the moon an atmosphere (Anybody see the movie Red Planet?) and it'll fly there too.
    • From the rules:No aerodynamic or air-breathing methods of hovering, propulsion, steering, or landing is permitted except in the case of abort.
  • NASA is now outsourcing its jobs.
    • NASA is an Admininstration, filled with administrators. It says so right in their name. They should not be doing actual engineering (they are not called NASE). Instead they should be providing an administrative service that supports aerospace development.

      Trying the X-prize model might be just the right way to tackle this.

    • by jmcharry (608079)
      Haven't they always? Other than the rocket fodder, supplied largely by the military, most of the heavy lifting has been done by contractors.
  • Time to boldly go... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pausanias (681077) <<pausaniasx> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:26PM (#21108111)
    where we already went 40 years ago with computers that would be 0wned by a calculator today. Way to go firing up the imaginations of the next generation of space scientists, NASA.
    • by Trogre (513942)
      Well, it was a difficult problem 40 years ago and it still is today.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Yeah, except 40 years ago NASA wasn't made up of a bunch of worthless bureaucrats whose sole goal was to merely justify their budget each year and cover their own asses.
  • That's so 1969... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tinrobot (314936) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:30PM (#21108163)
    It makes me sad that almost 40 years later, they have to reinvent the technology from scratch.

    We should be competing for a Mars lander by now.
    • They have to. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by freeze128 (544774)
      The original designers of all that equipment have either retired or died. The manufacturing methods were too slow anyway. It's also possible that some of the components may have even become outlawed because of environmental concerns (lead solder or maybe some really toxic fuels). Does the lander HAVE to be wrapped in gold foil like the LEM? I have heard that the price of copper is going through the roof. It just makes sense to completely re-invent the technology, and start fresh.

      I'm not worried about the t
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by everphilski (877346)
        The original designers of all that equipment have either retired or died.

        Not completely - I work as a NASA subcontractor, and I work with a few people who were around for the tail end of Apollo (granted, most are looking to retire soon - but they are still very sharp). But the real problem is information rot. Think about it - all the designs and reports from the 1950's and 1960's are written in paper. Fourty year old paper and photographs. Even in the best of storage conditions, these things degrade. I'v
    • It makes me sad that almost 40 years later, they have to reinvent the technology from scratch.

      We aren't reinventing the technology from scratch. (Nor do we need to.) This prize is about as relevant to an actual lander as an Estes model rocket from your local hobby store.
    • by Lumpy (12016)
      but it's not.

      The Apollo lander was a dirty hack. It worked but it was incredibly hackish. Remember you have a decent motor that is single use. then you have a single use acent motor that is seperate and only lifting 1/3rd the weight as you left the base, most of the fuel tanks, and other gear behind. (also pray the cable/hose seperation system worked or you are a dead man dangling at the end of a rope until your acent motor dies.)

      Any lunar lander crash even at low speed would have been incredibly bad. t
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Those Appolo "dirty hacks" did something that the modern losers at NASA haven't been able to replicate in 30 years, despite improved technology.
        • by Lumpy (12016)
          Yes we did.

          but we were willing to take risks then that they are not willing to take now.

          that is the difference.

          the public would go apeshit if we exploded a Saturn 5 sized bomb on the cape at launch. back then the public was used to rockets exploding.
          • by elrous0 (869638) *
            Then I would remind you that MANY more lives have been lost in the last 20 years of NASA than during the first 20.
            • Then I would remind you that MANY more lives have been lost in the last 20 years of NASA than during the first 20.
              Sure, Columbia failed a few years back and in the first 20 years we had Apollo 1, 7 compared to 3 is a lot more. But Challenger falls in neither pool, as it occured in 1986. Flight rates change. You are cherry picking dates. So let's compare Shuttle to everything prior (ie, capsules on a conventional rocket, the first 15 years of human space flight):

              1962-1975:
              6 mercury missions - 6 astronau
    • We should be competing for a Mars lander by now.

      For the lander portion, what is the real difference?
  • NASA must have their heads in the sand, because the private sector has already accomplished said task [frontiernet.net].

  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Wednesday October 24, 2007 @08:45PM (#21108281) Homepage Journal
    For all those who're whining about issues such as
    • difference in gravity between moon and earth
    • atmosphere here, none there
    • etc
    Remember that there's recently been *much* talk about actual landings on planetary bodies other than the moon (mars, anyone) where variable factors mentioned above will still be a consideration, but "simply" (for want of a better term) different values for the same problem.

    For those who're reading slashdot while still mostly asleep/inebriated/high .... If you can do this on earth (and accomodate the inherently *non-trivial* issues from relatively large gravity and atmosphere) then tweaking the solution to work for select random() from "moon,mars,??" is a significantly less complex problem.

    If you don't know how to build a car, building a world-land-speed-record-breaking car is *very difficult*, if you regularly design and build performance cars for a living, it is a significantly less complex problem.

    How many years did it take men to build a working powered flying machine? How many years *after* that before they tweaked the design for
    • Passenger flights
    • supersonic flights
    • heavy lifting caro capacity
    • remote-controlled flight
    • etc
    Seems Nasa has realized that being an overbloated government controlled bureaucracy is not necessarily conducive to rocket-science/heavy-engineering/economically-optimal-solutions (ie stuff they are supposed to be achieving).

    Perhaps now NASA will focus more on hard-science and rely on commercial enterprise to handle issues like basic-engineering and economical solutions.

    Government science projects should not be expected/required to be economically viable/turn a profit - their research is for the generic betterment of mankind and should be available to all. Commercial interests should not be relied upon (certainly not exclusively) to carry out the brunt of core scientific research - much scientific research is *exceedingly* expensive with no obvious expectation of Return On Investment (the space program has "struck it lucky" with many useful and commercial inventions as a result, but nobody said "lets put a man on the moon because we need to invent microwave ovens").

    If only we could convince *all* world governments to use 90% of their military budget for scientific research. Wars could be prosecuted with personal combat (trial by arms) and we'd have cured cancer/aids/parkinsons/the-common-cold years ago.
  • by Dunbal (464142)
    ONLY $2 million? You've got to be joking.
  • is that NASA, like the DOD, heavily overpays the industry, but will then go real cheap on these prizes. It is 2 million for a lunar lander, while Google offers 30 million for a lunar rover (which is NOT that much past a rover).
  • Lander (Score:2, Informative)

    by htnprm (176191)
    ...Some of the kiddies won't even remember this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Lander_(computer_game) [wikipedia.org]
  • Is there any reason why the previous design won't "work"? Seems like we've done the before at some point.
  • Has anyone thought that the reason why they're outsourcing this research is the fact that they simply do not know it in the first place? To me I'd say we've never been to the moon, and the U.S.'s space agencie(s) (NASA) couldn't get itself on that rock if it tried (at the current moment at least), so they're getting people thinking "Well it mustn't be that hard if we've done this before (as a country) so let's give it a go." Sadly paints the picture of NASA not having enough citizen support to be able to

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