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.
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 …
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?
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... ;)
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...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.
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.
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