From a historical and technical advancement point of view it's actually sad that Russia stopped it's efforts on sending people to the moon after the Apollo program turned out to be a success.
While we're busy building a lot of great tech this year we want to share a very short glimpse of our current work alongside this great quote by E. Hubbard. Take this as a reminder that "no" or "cannot" should never be a barrier for you to reach your goal. Sometimes it serves as just as the perfect motivation :-)
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Our mission: Challenge the Moon!
We're the Part-Time Scientists, an official team on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. We want to land a rover on the moon and send and receive HD video from this far-away object. For real. Hell yeah, it's rocket science!
To get our mission of the ground we are using a rocket that delivers our payload into low Earth orbit (LEO).
Low Earth orbit is where most satellites are, and we will be using a rocket that normally launches satellites. This may be a Dnepr, a rocket which was initially developed as an ICBM (InterContinental Ballistic Missile - meant to carry nuclear warheads), but currently used as cheap, reliable satellite carriers. It's not the biggest or newest rocket out there, but it should do the job, which is to get our payload from Baikonur Cosmodrome to LEO.
The rocket lifts our package, also called a payload, into low Earth orbit. From there it needs to go to the surface of the moon.
The lander is the vehicle that is responsible for this part of the trip. It has rocket engines that take it from LEO into an orbit around the moon, and from there safely down to the lunar surface.
The trip from LEO to lunar orbit is longest part of the journey, maybe two weeks.
The safe landing on the moon surface is the hardest part of the journey. Thousands of little things could go wrong, and each of those little things could mean failure for our mission.
The lander is the rocket’s payload, but it has a payload of its own, the rover.
We have to send a rover to the moon to win the GLXP competition, but we want it to do a few extra things as well. After all, how many times do you get send a rover to the moon? May as well make the most of it.
After the lander gets safely to the moon’s surface, our rover Asimov will complete the GLXP requirements of driving 500 meters and transmitting HD video back to earth.
We will be driving the rover from Earth like a remote control car, just without being able to see it and with a ~3 second delay between sending a control signal from Earth and receiving the video back from the moon.
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