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Google Lunar XPrize Race "Officially On"

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:09 am
by Sam Fraser

Today, the Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP) announced that Israeli team SpaceIL is the first to sign a verified launch contract that covers the first leg of its journey to the moon. The educational nonprofit’s spacecraft is slated to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the second half of 2017. ... icially-on

For extra efficiency, SpaceIL believes in multifunctional use of every single part of the spacecraft. For example, the propulsion system will be used both for landing and for performing the 500 meter hop.

Smart approach. But doesn't a rover have to traverse 500 metres across the regolith to qualify for the prize? I'm confused myself. An early definition of the goal here: a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth. [Early definition from 2011]

"Robot", not "rover" specifically, and "over" has several meanings, one being "above" as opposed to "across/long". However, the latest wording is:

The competition’s $30 million prize purse will be awarded to teams who are able to land a privately funded rover on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images.

It doesn't actually specify the rover itself must travel 500 metres and send back video. A rover of some kind must be landed, then a distance of 500 metres travelled and video sent back, which could be done by this team's lunar "hopper". Thoughts?