Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Moon

Five Google Lunar XPrize Teams Confirm They're Set For the Moon (cnet.com) 40

The Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP) teams are still soldiering on and, with the deadline now less than 12 months away, the XPrize Foundation has confirmed that five of those teams have signed launch contracts that that will allow them to launch to the moon by the end of the year. From a report on CNET: The GLXP is a $30 million purse of prizes open to independent teams from around the globe, with the overall goal of fostering the development of commercial space exploration. $20 million goes to the first team to successfully land a vehicle on the moon and then successfully cover a distance of 500 meters of lunar surface while streaming high-definition video back to the Earth. $5 million goes to the second team to do the same, while millions of dollars in other prizes are also up for grabs -- including bonuses for extra distance and visiting historic sites. The deadline? It currently stands at midnight, December 31 of 2017. Any team whose lander hasn't left the launchpad by then is automatically out of the running.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Five Google Lunar XPrize Teams Confirm They're Set For the Moon

Comments Filter:
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @11:17AM (#53728839) Homepage Journal

    Does this mean that the Chinese government might cash in a $20 m prize?

  • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @11:29AM (#53728927)

    Or are these going to be super secret HD streams?

    Not that it's likely to be worth watching most of the time.

  • This part of the rules seems unduly harsh:

    "Any team whose lander hasn't left the launchpad by then is automatically out of the running."

    I think that SpaceX is behind schedule for their launches because of that rocket that recently blew up while fueling. Why penalize the team for an issue with their launch provider?

    • For the same reason your teacher never gives you an extension because your dog ate your homework.
    • You need to have a cutoff date at some point. Though I'd understand if they announce a short extension, if 6 months before the deadline it becomes clear that 1 team will be a month late.
      • You need to have a cutoff date at some point. Though I'd understand if they announce a short extension, if 6 months before the deadline it becomes clear that 1 team will be a month late.

        Why would you need to have a cutoff? If you have a fully funded prize and you have people trying for the prize, why would you stop the contest before there is a winner? There are plenty of ongoing contests that are waiting for a winner. Some of them pay out the interest each year to the closest person, some just let the prize money build. It seems that if you really want a private company to go to the moon and if you think prize money will give them an incentive then instead of terminating the prize, th

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          Why would you need to have a cutoff? If you have a fully funded prize and you have people trying for the prize, why would you stop the contest before there is a winner?

          Because this is a contest that isn't supposed to have a winner. The goals are set so no one is in a position to meet them. It's meant to draw attention and interest, and to lock up the funds so they're not siphoned off elsewhere.
          Next year, that small budget might be better spent elsewhere.

      • Well, there are five teams who have scheduled launches. A Japanese team and an Indian team are riding up on the same Indian rocket. A team from the US is working with Rocket Lab USA [rocketlabusa.com]. An Israeli team is working with SpaceX and an international team is working with Interorbital Systems [interorbital.com].

        So, if SpaceX has to delay launching the Israeli's for 6 months, all the other teams have to call their launch providers and say, "Hey, can you hold off on our payload for six months?"

        At this point, I'd extend it only if it

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      I think that SpaceX is behind schedule for their launches because of that rocket that recently blew up while fueling. Why penalize the team for an issue with their launch provider?

      It's a race. If your car isn't lined up by the time they say "Gentlemen, start your engines", it doesn't get to compete in Le Mans 24. Whether it was due to someone else or not.

      Anyhow, even without the blowup, SpaceX is nowhere near ready to land anything on the moon. It's not even a factor here. And from there to being able to deploy a rover is another huge step that isn't even on the horizon. Remember that the first moon landing was in 1959, the first soft landing in 1966, and the first rover not unt

      • by cusco ( 717999 )

        SpaceX is just a launch provider, they wouldn't be competing.

        The rate of technological progress has changed a bit in the last half century, just the advances in CAD/CAM means that a process that would have taken 1000 engineers with slide rules a year can be done by a handful of engineers in a week. Much of the time spent between Sputnik and Mercury was simply figuring out how to build powerful rockets without them blowing up, we've got most of the bugs in that process worked out now and hypergolic fuels no

      • Actually, I cannot see why they couldn't do it if they wanted to. I'm just curious why you state that It's not even a factor. I can see that they would have other things that they would want to focus on, but NASA managed to do it in their first try in 1969, then repeatedly without ever crashing on the Moon.

        The lack of atmosphere and diminished gravity is a plus, so why the certainty in their inability to do so?

        My guess is that they choose to focus on a critical path to Mars as opposed to do everythi
    • The prize is for "landing on the moon this year", not "eventually landing on the moon, maybe 60 years from now.

      If they partner with a rocket company who can't deliver, and aren't able to make alternate arrangements, that sucks but sometimes disappointments happen. The challenge is to do it quickly.

      That reminds me of someone in a competition to visit the most states in six months. One of losers whined "but I visited California more times than the winner did." Well perhaps you did, but the challenge was to

  • 10 points to whoever spots the first space Nazi on the video streams.

  • I didn't think 30mil was enough money to entice the expenditures of space exploration. Would have figured it would be too costly to do so.

    • by CByrd17 ( 987455 )

      Well...the idea is to spur on commercial space launches. If you think you can get there first, you can offset your R&D by 30 million.

      If you don't, you've at least made a lot of progress and are better positioned to join the marketplace.

    • Re:Suprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jodka ( 520060 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @01:08PM (#53729637)

      I didn't think 30mil was enough money to entice the expenditures of space exploration...

      Well that is a fascinating aspect of these X prize competitions, that the total amount of money and effort invested by the competitors and the quality of the best work produced is far greater than what could be purchased with the award money.

      There must be some interesting lessons in the sociology and economics of that effect and perhaps some useful insights for managers there too.

      That kind of thing has been going on at least since Stephenson's Rocket won the Rainhill Trials [wikipedia.org] in 1829.

    • by cusco ( 717999 )

      The investment necessary isn't nearly what it was a few years ago. Today it takes just a couple of people to design a rover rather than a team of hundreds, a handful to assemble it from COTS hardware that didn't exist a decade ago, and they can choose from half a dozen different landing technologies that have been tested. The financing aspect has changed in the last decade as well, as there are now quite a few billionaires that are just looking for a vanity project that strikes their fancy.

      I'm kind of sur

  • The SpaceX team will be landing on a barge on the Moon.
  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @01:44PM (#53729889) Homepage

    Neil deGrasse Tyson had an apropos tweet today:

    In 1927 Lindbergh flew from NY to Paris. 45 yrs later, in 1972 we last walked on the Moon. 45 yrs later, in 2017 we we we

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      So you're saying we've done nothing in 45 years? No progress?

      Seems to me like the industry is rapidly changing from a "because we can" thing to commercially viable and expanding. That will in turn get costs down to the point where we can do a new set of "because we can" things.

      • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
        There has been progress in robotic exploration. However, if we were able put a man on the Moon then why can't we put a man on the Moon? Reason is this is not the same country that did the Apollo program (yes, this is another one of my rants about space on the forums today).
        • The question is not "why can't we" but "why would we"? A matter of priorities. At the moment we (Earth) don't have a compelling reason to go back there, given the expense. The USA has already been there and prefers to spend their space exploration budget on other things. Russia isn't in a space race anymore. China and India might do it for the prestige. But if you want to do anything meaningful there, like run a science programme, prospecting, etc, you'd need to set up camp there; a short visit isn't
          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            I'd argue that while there's not compelling arguments for "because we can" programmes, there's a very compelling argument for having lofty goals in mind and properly funding those goals. And if those goals include a long-term presence offworld, then that funding means both a robust robotic exploration program, a large systems engineering programme, and most importantly a very sizeable launch cost reductions programme, both the conventional, short term (getting rocket costs down) and unconventional, long-te

  • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Tuesday January 24, 2017 @05:37PM (#53731391)
    Instead of Mars! It would be interesting to check out Apollo landing sites to see how materials have changed from 40 years of solar radiation. Maybe see how the bootprints have soften due to micrometeorites. Land in places that were out of reach for Apollo landing sites, survey for PGM materials. Check out a crater on the poles, get closer and greater analysis that LCROSS was not able to. See how much updates Paul Spudis and Dennis Wingo will have to do for their next books (these are the only two notable people that discussed the Moon, everyone else is fixated on Mars). Note for human space travel the Moon is only three days away but Mars will always be 20 years away.

On the eighth day, God created FORTRAN.

Working...