back to article Google picks five teams to share $6 MEEELLION funding in Lunar X Prize

Next year Google could dish out its $30m Lunar X Prize if a private organization manages to safely land a vehicle on the surface of the Moon and trundle it across the lunar regolith. Now the first $6m of that money is up for grabs. Of the 18 teams competing for the grand prize, five have been selected to take part in trials …


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  1. CmdrX3

    Is it just me?

    I swear that the Part Time Scientists one in the picture looks like the love child of Number "Johnny" Five and a wheeled car jack. I do however wish all the participants the best of luck.

    1. Turtle

      @ CmdrX3

      "I do however wish all the participants the best of luck."

      I, on the other hand, sincerely hope that every launch vehicle either liveried with a Google logo or carrying a payload with a Google logo explodes on the launch pad.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: @ CmdrX3

        Hmm, what a nice person you obviously are, hoping that the hopes and aspirations of those entering the competition are blow up.


      2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: @ CmdrX3

        Mr Turtle, your nurse is on the phone. It seems your scheduled medication is running late.

        1. Fatman

          Re: @Destroy All Monsters

          Also, she forgot to add, this time it must be administered through the anal cavity; in order that you receive maximum benefit from the increased dosage!!!

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Google Street View on the Moon?

    It could be interesting... or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google Street View on the Moon?

      Nah. They'll get the lander to erect a big advertising board.

  3. MondoMan

    vehicle names?

    Presumably, they should all be tortoise-themed, as the (Jade) Rabbit currently has the lead in the race...

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: vehicle names?

      Wrong leporid, but it was a good joke so I'm not going to split hares...

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    10th prize...

    A copy of Kerbal Space Program?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: 10th prize...

      With reality-enhanced Mun!

  5. The Infamous Grouse

    Phase two - Robot Wars ON THE MOON please

    This is what I want to see:

    A chunk of the money for landing on the moon. A bigger chunk for landing within reasonable distance of another team's rover. Then, once all teams are down or out, an anything-goes battle royale for the rest of the purse with machines cutting into each other's wheels, smashing solar panels, blinding sensors with lasers and hurling moon rocks. Last rover standing wins.

    It's Darwinian. Which means it's good science, right?

    1. sandman

      Re: Phase two - Robot Wars ON THE MOON please

      You're encouraging armed robots to evolve? We all know how well that turns out for us ;-)

  6. DropBear

    I wonder if a gerbil-ball design would stand a chance on the lunar surface...? You even get extra impact cushioning and the biggest wheel diameter for a given rover size as a bonus! Sure, using a transparent ball to allow camera view might be hampered by regolith sticking to it, but one could also stick out the camera(s) at the two lateral "poles" of the ball... ;)

  7. poohbear

    look Ma no wheels

    They don't need to roll around on the moon.. they can fly the required distance after touchdown.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    *Enabling* technology.

    $20m for a package to go to the Moon, move around carrying a (smallish) instrument package

    If one of the 15 entrants pulls this off this will be astonishing.

  9. Rory B Bellows

    Team El Reg?

    Send a vulture to the moon ?

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Team El Reg?

      That'd be a hell of a kickstarter.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I missing something...

    ...but isn't there the small matter of a propulsion system powerful enough to escape earth's gravity? Not to mention control systems capable of navigating a spacecraft into lunar orbit and then controlled descent.

    Surely, building a buggy with video camera and radio transmitter is small fry in comparison to these parts of the task?

    Do the established commercial space operators (e.g. SpaceX) already have a vehicle capable of getting to the moon? I know they can get into geosynchronous orbit, but that's still inside earth's gravity well.

    1. annodomini2

      Re: Am I missing something...

      All about mass,

      Saturn V could put 130t into LEO and 45t into TLI.

      Falcon 9 v.1.1 can put 13.1t into LEO, so assuming linearity ~ 4.5t into TLI.

      If 4.5t can get you your lander and rover to the surface of the moon, it's theoretically feasible.

  12. Trevor 3

    Love them or hate them...

    personally they can have a bit of data about me for the time being as they seem to be the only massive company funding these exploits to a realistic level.

    That and their approach to new technology. Not just the 3D sensing phone thing, or even google glass, but the contact lense for detecting salt levels in tears for medical stuff, robotic cars and probably the myriad of other stuff they have under wraps.

    They are not just not being evil, but they are doing some good for humanity too.

    Long may it continue.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Love them or hate them...

      Amen. I don't see Microsoft or Apple out there funding 10GbE fibre to the home, space races or so forth. Maybe it's just Google "buying" goodwill. If so, good on 'em.

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    SpaceX and Tesla

    could do it - a pet project for Elon Musk

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