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Goals of the X PRIZE

Posted by: Klaus Schmidt - Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:35 am
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Goals of the X PRIZE 
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Post Goals of the X PRIZE   Posted on: Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:35 am
There are several bonus goals besides landing on the moon in the Lunar X PRIZE.

Which do you think will be accomplished? Roving large distances? Find alien..eh Apollo, I mean, artifacts? Surviving a long time?

What about the potential implications of the X PRIZE? The Ansari X PRIZE triggered the beginning of the suborbital tourism, what about this X PRIZE?

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Post    Posted on: Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:56 am
I'm not sure its a good idea to give an additional prize to photograph old lunar hardware on the surface. This might lead to targeting specific sites with landers, if they were slightly off course this could end up obliterating Apollo landing areas.

Wasn't there a move a while back to make the Apollo landing zones protected historical sites. I dont think it would be good for Neil Armstrong's first foot print to be wiped out by a rover's wheels.

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Post Re: Goals of the X PRIZE   Posted on: Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:16 am
Klaus Schmidt wrote:
Which do you think will be accomplished? Roving large distances? Find alien..eh Apollo, I mean, artifacts? Surviving a long time?


I hope that any team that will land on the Moon will go for other optional bonus than "photo Apollo stuff". It seems reasonable to explore other landing sites. (north/south pole, perhaps?) than visiting the same area over and over again.

I'm afraid the implication won't be as broad as Ansari X Prize. Be honest: (almost) everyone wants to go to space and SpaceShipOne promised to do that, so there's a huge potential market. But driving a rover on the Moon? Sure, that cool, but making money on it will be difficult.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 19, 2007 6:24 pm
A lot has been said about mining He3 on the moon what about sending a rover with an instrument to measure the surface content of the stuff?

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Post    Posted on: Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:58 pm
The rovers for this competition will have a camera as the only "science" instrument to keep costs down. The amount of He3 is already known in 6 or 7 places, and since there are as yet no working He3 reactors, or even designs for them, it is too early to do any more prospecting for it.


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:33 am
It is right to exercise some judgement and control over activities at Apollo landing sites, but I don't think an attempt to visit one with a rover puts them at significant risk. One would aim to land some distance away and 'rove' to them. The payloads we are discussing are hardly large enough to obliterate them. As for losing a few of the footprints from relatively recent and extraordinarily well-documented events, I think we need to keep a sense of proportion, especially after lately bombing the bejeezus out of the largest and most important archaeological site in the world.

What a visit to an Apollo site would do is bring the reality of the moon landings to a new generation. This is not about proving the conspiracy theorists wrong - you will never persuade them, and who cares what they think anyway? - though it may deprive them of their target audience. It is more like the archaeology done on WWII battlefields, or restoring and flying planes of that era, bringing to life the reality of it in a way that no amount of documentation can. Live pictures of the Apollo hardware would make the moon landings nearly as real to the children of today as it is to those of us who were children when they happened. And of course this can be done rather sooner than the next manned landings.

There just might be some useful observations to be made too, including observations about the condition of the footprints as well as the hardware. Visible meteorite damage, dust/ejecta accumulation, parts stolen by aliens?


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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:24 am
In the Technology section there is a thread about the Apollo lnader DSs. My idea is that they could be investigated and explored to find out in what state they are after being exposed to extreme variations of temperatures since decades and so on. The idea at starting the thread was aboout them being visited by Armadillo Aerospace's and Micro Space's vehicles.

But to vist them by a rover equipped by a camera would be more interesting because the rover could drive around an Apollo DSs and also under it to investigate the nozzle and the surface there.

The camera could be the best available on the market or under development and on Earth video- or photo-software could be applied to evaluate the video. It might be sophisticated software perhaps. The video(s) could be scitifically interesting or even for engineering or students at least.

So it might be of value to vist them using the opportunity of this new XPRIZE.

An additional aspect is that other places may be more boring.

To win the entire prize money the rover has to be on the Moon before NASA's return to the Moon - under this aspect to a vist of the DSs may be interesting.

But of course there are alternative human objects that may be interesting also: Surveors, Lunas and Lunochod.

A few probes - soviet mainly are missing because they disappeared and are assumed to have crashed into the Moon. The locations are known vaguely only - but the vague location might be an interesting location for XPRIZ-rovers too.

What about these aspect?



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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:09 am
Wouldn't a satelitte in lunar orbit be required to relay pictures back to Earth from a rover? If so this will probably mean that pictures/video can only be transmitted when the satelitte is over head.

This would also mean additional cost for a team or perhaps NASA or another agency will have a craft orbiting that could act as a relay?

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Post    Posted on: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:36 am
No relay satellite is necessary for a near-side lander, since it will have constant line-of-sight with Earth. I think Surveyor and such-like managed without The lander won't need so much transmitting power as they are offering use of the Paul Allen array, but being limited to one ground-station will mean communication is not continuous due to the rotation of the earth.

The effects of 40 years of extreme thermal cycling on hardware, particularly hardware of complex construction, might well be of interest. The later J-series Apollo landing sites would be preferable in this regard, as they have more variety of hardware i.e. the rover as well as the Descent Stage.

Searching for lost probes is an interesting idea, but there is a high risk of the mission falling flat in public perception terms if nothing is found. Some items have been deliberately impacted on the Moon to see what happens (iirc SMART-1), maybe one of those sites might be considered for a closer look.

I think there are enough interesting things to do that we can hope for more than one credible entrant for this prize, and that when credible payloads are built, people or organizations will come forward to fund launches.


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