The Robots in Google’s Race To The Moon
Posted on March 14, 2011
Photo by Astrobotics Red Rover
The Google Lunar X Prize is a space competition organized by the X Prize Foundation and sponsored by Google. The competition is about privately-funded spaceflight teams to compete in launching, landing and then travelling across the surface of the Moon with a Robot.
At the moment there are 29 teams competing in Googles Lunar X Prize challenge and one lucky winner will get 20 million US dollars. The teams have to be able to launch a vehicle from Earth, land it on the Moon and then send the robot on a 500 meter journey across the surface. They must also be able to send images and data back to Google’s earthbound servers. Listed below are Part Time Scientist’s Asimov Jr R1 and R2 and also Seleneteam’s LuRoCa 1.
Asimov Jr R1 & R2
“Asimov Jr, the Part-Time Scientists’rover, will hibernate through the frigid lunar night. Once awake, its speed of 2 metres per minute will require it to make the most of the day. A team of several drivers will remotely operate the rover from Earth, navigating it around rocks and craters. They’ll need to think ahead, because their signals will take 3 seconds to travel from the Earth to the moon. Asimov’s mission is to explore 5 kilometres of terrain – much more ambitious than the 500 metres that will satisfy Google.”
Luroca 1 by Seleneteam
“Selene’s rocket car, Luroca 1, will be equipped with a redundant ignition system that can be activated by both remote control and a backup timer circuit. To avoid damage from abrasive dust particles, and to gain traction on the soft lunar surface, Luroca 1 will travel on wheels rather than tracks.”
Go to NewScientist to read the rest of the story and see five other robots competing in the Google Lunar X Prize.