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The United States’ Astrobotics and Japan’s Hakuta teams announced on Monday that they plan to send their robot rovers to the moon on the same SpaceX flight next year. Astrobotics has developed a lander called the Griffin that will deliver the pair to the surface where they will compete for a portion of the $20 million grand prize.
To win, the solar-powered off-roaders will have to travel at least 500 meters while streaming HD video back to earth. Astrobotic CEO John Thornton said in a press release that they envision a “NASCAR on the Moon’ scenario, where competing teams land together, and countries can cheer on their team to the finish line.”
Last month, both teams were awarded Google Lunar XPRIZE Milestone Prizes: HAKUTO won $500,000 for technological advancements in the Mobility category, while Astrobotic, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, won a total of $1.75M for innovations in all three focus areas—Landing, Mobility and Imaging. Throughout the judging process, all three rovers, Moonraker, Tetris and Andy, demonstrated the ability to move 500 meters across the lunar surface and withstand the high radiation environment and extreme temperatures on the moon.
This partnership between the teams demonstrates a new phase of collaboration within the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. Both sides will benefit with HAKUTO obtaining a ride to the moon and Astrobotic securing an important customer for its long-term lunar delivery service venture. This joint contribution would be reflected in a share of the prize purse.
The target area for this landing will be the Lacus Mortis region, located in the northeastern part of the moon. Images from spacecraft orbiting the moon suggest that Lacus Mortis holds a pit or a skylight, and could potentially be an entrance to a lunar cave. These caves are thought to be lava tubes and could prove scientifically important in explaining the moon's volcanic past. Longer-term, they have potential to house habitats that would protect humans from the hostile lunar environment.
originally posted by: CitizenJack
a reply to: infinityorder
I can spare a dollar!
I know what you mean. This is a great argument for the private sector becoming involved in space related ventures.
Dont get me wrong I have a serious soft spot for NASA , but this is just plain cool.
Maybe NASA could try a Martian Rover Death Match and have their remaining rovers enter a battle Royal...
Your welcome NASA, that ones a freebie .