back to article Lunar water-prospecting rover rolls closer towards launch

Astrobotic Technology, a privately funded spacecraft developer, has announced that its has completed a full-size prototype of its second Moon rover, Polaris, which is scheduled to fly in October 2015 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Polaris is one of two Moon rovers under development by Astrobotic in competition for the Google …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We should colonise the moon. Previous experience suggests that a reasonably successful way to do that would be to populate it with criminals and soldiers, and wait 200 years. Perhaps they could call the colony Mare Botany.

    1. Dave Walker

      "Sinus Botanicus"?

      for "Bay"

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      A fine notion

      But have you not heard the Moon is a harsh mistress?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: A fine notion

        But have you not heard the Moon is a harsh mistress?

        See icon, bro'

      2. hplasm
        Gimp

        Re: A fine notion

        So? Start a black latex spacesuit factory.

        mmmmm!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all in favour of this but . . .

    I've never understood how the Google Prize encourages so much competition. I had the same problem with the Ansari X Prize for a re-usable spacecraft. Surely the prize doesn't even cover the development and building costs and that's assuming you win!

    Or were all of these efforts already in progress and the Google Prize just offers a little leverage?

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    1. GavinC

      Re: I'm all in favour of this but . . .

      The carrot on the end of a stick doesn't provide enough energy for the horse to run, but it will still chase it.

      It's an incentive, and it seems to work. 26 teams competed to win the Ansari X-Prize, I'm not sure if any of these were trying to launch a man into space prior to the founding of this prize.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doozers

    Is there a team of dedicated doozers (the little hardhatted folks from Fraggle Rock) working up in that drilling rig?

  4. CowardlyLion
    Thumb Up

    Soviet find water on the Moon in the 1970s

    We already know there's water on the moon, found by a rover in the 70s. Going back to find more is still a good idea though.

    (Phys.org) -- In August 1976 Luna 24 landed on the moon and returned to Earth with samples of rocks, which were found to contain water, but this finding was ignored by scientists in the West.

    http://phys.org/news/2012-06-soviet-moon-1970s-west.html

    1. hplasm
      Happy

      Re: Soviet find water on the Moon in the 1970s

      Checkov! Is that you?

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    That cost in perspective

    $1.8m Kg may sound high but according to a report on increasing the payload of the Saturn V (Logsdon & Africano) the cost per unit mass to put a unit of mass in Lunar orbit was more than the equivalent in Gold at the time.

    They were able to increase Saturn payload by 5% *without* major hardware changes.

    Interestingly this is about $35k/Kg about 1/51 that of Gold.

  6. hurrikcane

    nuclear-powered rover

    I find it rather frustrating that the use of nuclear-powered rovers is so very limited and not far more prolific. I recognize that the material necessary to power these units is limited in supply, but the units themselves should be built and made available to the many companies actually building and placing motorized rovers throughout our solar backyard.

    If you're going to actually perform a credible search for large quantities of ice on the moon you need sufficient power to survive the extremely cold temperatures, the utter lack of all solar-energy when exploring the darker eternally shadowed areas, and good consistent power for drilling. Although I support all these various ventures, I feel they are very much handicapped long before they are ever launched. We should give the moon ventures just as much technological support as we do those ventures that go much further out (i.e. the Mars Rover etc...). Just my thoughts.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Fatman

      Re: nuclear-powered rover

      Well, the anti-nuke types have made so much noise over the use of nuke power; it becomes a exercise in futility.

      I recall all of the doom sayers who tried to stop the launch of the Cassini probe years ago. It was a good thing they lost, because the photos it has returned from Saturn are incredible. (NASA page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/main/index.html

      But, I have to agree, for any real endurance at exploration, a nuke battery (aka RTG) is the only way to go.

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