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Penn State hope to win $30M prize

Full Moon

 

 

A team of US university students have unveiled an audacious plan to become the fourth people in history to land a spaceship on the moon.

The Penn State students say their project could even go one better – landing a craft that can take off and land at will, allowing it to explore the lunar surface easily.

They hope to launch on a commercial spacecraft in 2015 – if they can raise enough money.

‘Moon missions take brains, and willpower, and usually the wealth of nations – until now,’ the team says on its fundraising site.

‘Brains are still needed. And willpower. Not nations, though.

‘For the first time in history a group of students with a dream, a hell of a lot of support from their school, and your help, will land a spacecraft on the Moon.’

The team are battling against far larget teams as part of a Google XPRIZE for the team to land on the moon.

Once their craft has landed, they plan to beam back messages from supporters, while the craft will also be etched with the names of those who supported the project.

 

HOW IT WILL WORK

In December of 2015, the Lunar Lion lander will take off onboard a commercial launch vehicle.

After cruising through space for five days, the spacecraft will land on the surface of the Moon, sending back high-res images and videos to Penn State’s mission control center.

After this first lunar touchdown, the team will launch the Lunar Lion lander from the Moon’s surface and fly it to a second landing site.

Penn State lunar plan

 

‘When the Lunar Lion Mission Clock hits ZERO, the first bunch of twenty-something-student-rocket-scientists (along with professors, advisors, partners and pals) are going to launch a lander bound for the Moon.

‘After it lands it’s going to take off again, fly for a bit, and then land again.

‘This, too, is a FIRST. ‘

 

Penn State lander

‘Some very serious math has been done to calculate just how long the Lunar Lion might last on the Moon. Since it will be engraved with or contain the names and messages of everyone who wants to help, the answer is important.

‘Our lander will stand post for tens of millions of years.

The team is confident it can win the Lunar Xprize, awarded to the first non-government group to land on the moon.

‘The launch date is set, the spacecraft design is complete, and at the moment, it looks like the Lunar Lion team might just win the Google Lunar XPRIZE by being the first non-government group ever to accomplish so technical a task.’

THE GOOGLE LUNAR X PRIZE

The Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest international incentive based prize of all time, aims to do something we haven’t done as humanity since 1973 – safely land on the surface of the Moon.

‘More than half of the world’s population has never had the opportunity to view a live transmission from the lunar surface,’ say the organisers.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE aims to create a new “Apollo” moment for this generation and to spur continuous lunar exploration with $40 Million in incentive based prizes.

In order to win this money, a private company must land safely on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters above, below, or on the Lunar surface, and send back two ‘Mooncasts’ to Earth

The next step in the race is to build and test the lander prototype, the team say.

In December of 2015, the Lunar Lion lander will take off onboard a commercial launch vehicle.

After cruising through space for five days, the spacecraft will land on the surface of the Moon, sending back high-res images and videos to Penn State’s mission control center.

After this first lunar touchdown, the team will launch the Lunar Lion lander from the Moon’s surface and fly it to a second landing site.
‘We began planning the mission in January 2013 and will finish this phase by July of 2014,’ the team says.

‘During this period, Penn State researchers will be moving from the design phase in the labs to building a prototype of the Lunar Lion to do descent, landing, and hopping tests on Earth.’

Mission control will conduct flight operations from December 2015 to January 2016. During this period, we will reach out to the world and release stunning hi-res videos and photos to the public and publish details of the Lunar Lion’s achievements before we close out the mission, and our golden lander becomes the monument to all that we have together accomplished.

 

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Penn State hope to win $30M prize

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