Astrobotics Lunar Polar Probe
Astrobotics has built a prototype lunar lander and has been building and testing components of two different lunar polar lander probes call Red Rover and Polaris. It plans to launch Polaris to the Moon on a Falcon 9 rocket in October 2015.
Red Rover is designed to compete for the Google XPrize, and to operate at near equatorial latitudes during the hot lunar days, while going into hibernation during the cold lunar nights. It has a stereoscopic camera to make 3D maps, and to be determined science payloads. It's an 80 kg rover with a 30 kg payload.
More interesting is Polaris, which is designed for probing the Moon's poles for ice and volatiles, including a drill. It is a 150 kg rover carrying up to 80 kg of payload.
Astrobotics has already built a lunar lander called Griffin, which is a 525 kg lander able to deliver a payload up to 260 kg to the surface of the Moon.
Astrobotics was founded in 2008 as an offshoot of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. It is led by Dr. William "Red" Whittaker and David Gump, and has an impressive team and Board of Directors.
More information can be found at astrobotics.com
Notably, Whittaker and Gump also led the LunaCorp project of 1989-2003 which built a lunar lander named Nomad which was tested in the Arctic, Chile's Anaconda Desert, and Antarctica, and marketed to sponsors, before the company was dissolved after a last ditch effort did not come up with sufficient funding. Hopefully, after those 14 years of experience, enough lessons were learned to make this next effort more successful. More information on that can be found on our page on this website on LunaCorp.
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