Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Private Moon Rover Aims for Apollo 11 Landing Site"

Cool stuff from
Nearly 40 years after Americans first set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969 with NASA's historic Apollo 11 flight, a host of private rocketeers are hoping to follow to win a $30 million prize. Here, looks at Astrobotic, one of 17 teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize:

If there's one name that's on the lips of many Google Lunar X Prize competitors, it's Astrobotic. The team boasts a name that readily conveys its ambitious aspirations for reaching the moon and beyond.

"Astrobotic Technology is going to do a series of missions for scouting, prospecting, mining, and all sorts of things that robots can do to get ready for the human return to the moon," said David Gump, President of Astrobotic.

Winning the Google Lunar X Prize requires teams to land a robot on the moon, move at least 1,640 feet (500 meters) and beam high definition views back to Earth.

The team plans for a pinpoint landing just over a mile from the Apollo 11 site, where Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. Astrobotic's "Red Rover" would then beam back high-definition images of the dusty footprints left by Armstrong and fellow Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin, all while taking care not to disturb the historical site.
Let's hope Red Rover is as resilient as Spirit and Opportunity.

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