Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Moon on a Shoestring.

Google has teamed with the X-Prize Foundation to form "The Google Lunar X Prize" whose goal is the first NGO lunar exploration: "...[an] international competition to safely land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth". The prize: $30,000,000, about 4% of the cost of a single Shuttle launch. It's an interesting question: how much space, electronics, control, and computing technology is now generic and cheap enough to assemble into a Moon probe?

Meanwhile, NASA's Orion/Ares program continues a good pace.

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