Moon 2.0: Join the Revolution

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radarredux

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Now that the X Prize announcement is official and the new web site is online, I thought it would be proper to start discussion thread with the semi-official slogan: "Moon 2.0: Join the Revolution."<br /><br />The web site is: http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/ and it is a fairly good site. You can buy watches, posters, and other things with the "Moon 2.0" logo, and you can submit electronic photos that will be delivered to the Moon. There is also a promotional video (not surprisingly) hosted by YouTube<br />http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/competition/moon-2-0-rollout-video<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Do you think any of those NASA scientists who had been working on Lunar rovers have the confidence to quit NASA and form a company or go to work for a company competing for Moon 2.0?</font><br />
 
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spacelifejunkie

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Is this possible to do under $30 million? It might depend on the rules which I think are still under review. A cool contest for sure but I'm very interested in the details.<br /><br /><br />SLJ
 
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docm

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I guess the bottom line is that if they do it then it's possible <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />Yes; the devil is in the details. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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diamondspaceguy

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Im not too sure its possible! nice site as you say but wayyy to much info for this time of the day haha <br /><br />There was a quick run down at:<br />http://spacefellowship.com/News/?p=3052<br />interesting discussion board there as they were the original xprize official forums! <br /><br /><br />Should be interesting, anyone know whos entered? />
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Is this possible to do under $30 million?</font>/i><br /><br />I think the key is the person/group has to believe that it will ultimately be worth much more than $20+ million. For example, the money spent by Rutan and company was largely a proof of concept plus publicity effort, which they were able to flip for $100+ million in contracts. Likewise, the COTS 1 program was only seed money and required matching funds (which RpK failed to win), so the competitors must believe there is additional money to be made beyond the COTS 1 money (e.g., long-term ISS supply contracts or crew+supply contracts for Bigelow).<br /><br />The Moon 2.0 prize must be thought of in similar terms. There is more to winning this effort than the initial prize.<br /><br />This is why small entrepreneurs like me often criticize government civil servants and employees of large corporations: we believe in what we are doing to take the risks and skip the steady salaries, job security, and pensions, to go without money for months on end and to go into debt.<br /><br />I <b><i><font color="yellow">really</font>/i></i></b> want to see some NASA employees quit their jobs to pursue this.</i>
 
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spacelifejunkie

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Speaking of the details, let's have some fun...<br /><br />What is the minimum size launcher needed? <br /><br />Stages...Booster, 2nd stage to LEO, earth departure, lunar insertion, lander. What can be combined here?<br /><br />What is the best current or near current rocket for the mission. Falcon 9 Heavy? If so, it's pricey.<br /><br />The good news is that this is a robotic mission. Much less mass than a manned one.<br /><br /><br />SLJ
 
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rybanis

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I wonder if Elon could possibly be convinced to <i>donate</i> a Falcon 9... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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jschaef5

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I am not sure I fully understand this. You buy a falcon 9 ticket and put a rover and descent module on it and send it to the moon, drive around a bit and you win 30 million for this? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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rybanis

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Yeah. Plus, you can get additional prizes for getting images of Apollo equipment, and surviving a lunar night.<br /><br />My main concern is not building the rover, that should be relatively simple and inexpensive...its getting it to TLI <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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henryhallam

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First prize is $20m, not $30m.<br />Falcon 9 list price is $35m...
 
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rybanis

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Thats why I engaged in wild speculation as to how they could get a launcher <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Also, something I heard on NPR: The rover has to be able to drive over 500 meters. Initially, I thought you could pull it off with something as simple as Sojourner, but I don't think you could build something robust enough to go .5km and be that small. Who knows, though? I'm no engineer! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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jschaef5

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"First prize is $20m, not $30m.<br />Falcon 9 list price is $35m..."<br /><br />hopefully there is a pretty good discount <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Thats why I engaged in wild speculation as to how they could get a launcher</font>/i><br /><br />Couple of possibilities. First, many launches have spare capacity, and a lander payload could possibly be added; although, I am not sure if there would be enough capacity for an upper stage that could do a TLI burn. ESA's latest Ariane rocket was specifically designed to carry multiple payloads into orbit, and it seems to be paying off for them so far.<br /><br />Second, you eat the launch costs. Don't forget that to win the Ansari X Prize Rutan and company spent more than twice the money than the prize is worth. To do this, you either need deep pockets, find donors, or look for additional revenue streams for this mission or later missions.<br /><br />Third, you get a cut-rate deal from a launch supplier who sees positive press from being associated with the X Prize. Having your name associated with landing the first private-sector mission on the Moon would be worth an awful lot of advertising.<br /><br />Fourth, NASA cuts a deal to supply or subsidize the launch vehicle. To do this, a team would have to demonstrate a reasonable chance of success by passing some automated lunar landing and rover tests in some simulated environment. In fact, I think the X Prize Cup should consider doing this for their 2008 competition. Maybe NASA justifies this by essentially paying the competitor to also deliver a small scientific payload onto the Lunar surface (either attached to the lander or the rover).<br /><br />And I am sure there are many other possibilities...</i>
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">Use the falcon 1e @ $9m</font>/i><br /><br />Someone needs to do a back of the envelop calculation for the minimum weight for such a mission. You need a certain amount of equipment (e.g., HD video and transmission capabilities); a means to provide a certain amount of power to move the rover .5k, power the electronics, and transmit the data; a rover chassis and drive mechanism, and engines and propellant to provide a soft landing on the moon. Then you need a rocket stage for TLI.<br /><br />Once you have this calculation, you can look at various launch alternatives.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Does anyone have an estimate for these numbers?</font>NASA was doing some work on some Lunar landers as part of "the vision"; I wonder if they can make their estimates available.</i>
 
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rybanis

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I wish I knew the math to figure out the max size of a payload for a specific launcher to get TLI capability (if that makes sense). IE, I wonder if a Falcon 1 could do it, but the lander would be the size of a shoe box? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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mccorvic

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Really awesome. More evidence that Google is beyond awesome. My only complaint would be the terrible "roll-out" video. Really, did we need to rename the Apollo missions to "Moon 1.0"?<br /><br />Though, in my mind, the attempt to take pictures of the old Apollo...erm, Moon 1.0, stuff on the will be worth looking forawrd too in and of itself.
 
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radarredux

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> <i><font color="yellow">My only complaint would be the terrible "roll-out" video. Really, did we need to rename the Apollo missions to "Moon 1.0"?</font>/i><br /><br />I think it was very appropriate, especially with Google being Internet/software people, and the "Web 2.0" name being so popular right now. Clearly, the Apollo era was our first effort to visit the Moon, and now we are embarking on the second effort. Hopefully this effort sticks and we won't need a "Moon 3.0".<br /><br />In general, I think this is a pretty good promotional effort, and the Lunar program (whether government or commercial, USA or other) needs as much good promotion as possible to keep the US population engaged.</i>
 
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crix

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So you would need a means to get from LEO to lunar orbit and then to the surface. Seems like that would be the trickiest part for a company that had never done spaceflight. The robot itself would be more straight forward IMO. <br /><br />This 20 million is an incentive to start a profitable business based around activity on the Moon's surface. The prize will not even cover the launch cost so this company must have a solid plan for making many millions of dollars more. <br /><br />Hm. For one thing I suppose you could offer an exclusive deal for rights to the footage. The Discovery Channel for example. How else could you make money? Selling image rights for making posters and prints. A camera on the lander could take pics of the Logo covered robot as it drives off.<br /><br />I need to take more time to think about this...
 
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gunsandrockets

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<Use the falcon 1e @ $9m ><br /><br />That was my first thought too. But consider that it took an Atlas-Centaur rocket to send the minimalist Surveyor lander to the moon. You could probably make a rover today for the same mass as the Surveyor with a minimal 500m range capability, but you still would need an Atlas-Centaur class launch vehicle to get that rover to the moon.<br /><br />I hope this contest might spark improved technology for 3rd stage propulsion such as solar-electric or solar-thermal rockets. Then maybe you could squeeze a mini-rover into a smaller launch vehicle like a Falcon 1.<br /><br />I wonder if a lander which could 'hop' under power would qualify for the 500m range roving requirement? It wasn't anything like 500m but one Surveyer mission actually did a hop maneuver after landing.<br />
 
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frankmars

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On behalf of Marsdrive I'd like to say that we have starting looking into this, but before we go very far I'd like to know what kind of support we would have if we were to try organizing an entry to this contest. We are a non profit space company and while we are pursuing Mars, these sorts of projects are obviously a good thing for anyone to pursue- as long as it is a serious approach. So interested people, let me know, and let's see what/if we can do anything.
 
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themanwithoutapast

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Speaking of the details, let's have some fun... <br /><br />What is the minimum size launcher needed? <br /><br />Stages...Booster, 2nd stage to LEO, earth departure, lunar insertion, lander. What can be combined here? <br /><br />What is the best current or near current rocket for the mission. Falcon 9 Heavy? If so, it's pricey. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />1. There is a calculation of the minimum mass requirements in this thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=9818&start=16<br /><br />2. It would not make sense to use something as pricey and heavy as Falcon 9 Heavy. This XPrize will be won by the team that can get the smallest possible payload together in the fastest time. Anything that will be more than 500 kg to LEO is probably to massive and therefore to expensive to develop and pay for the launch costs. Possible launchers are Rockot (in a multi-launch scenario, probably as a secondary payload), Dnepr, Soyuz, PSLV, etc. (all as a payload in a multi-launch mission). Alternatives would be a Falcon 1 launch (if that rocket will eventually successfully fly) or as a demo-payload for Vega...<br /><br />If a team would be able to get the LEO mass down to 100 kg (which I deem not possible), then they could even get it to launch on Shtil or Volna or get a piggybag-launch on a larger rocket for little money.
 
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holmec

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Are you talking monetary support, or support as far as interest? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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holmec

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Don't you need to start with the rover, how heavy it is and what its landing systems going to be and how heavy they are and if it needs an orbiter for communications and how heavy that is. <br /><br />Then you have a basis for a payload for the TLI booster. Of course the payload and TLI booster makes up the total payload for the launcher to get to earth orbit. <br /><br />And speaking of TLI booster, are you going to use one or use an ion engine to get to lunar orbit in 3 years like SMART-1 did?<br /><br />Or are you going to try to use an unconventional method like a solar sail?<br /><br />Ion engine and solar sail have the advantage that you don't need such a big launcher to begin with. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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mccorvic

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According to msnbc's Cosmic Log<br /><br />"Musk already has a growing launch manifest, but he's willing to provide launches at cost for competitors in the Google Lunar X Prize. "We don't expect to generate any extra sales out of this," he said. Instead, Musk - who is a member of the X Prize Foundation's board of trustees - sees this as a way to contribute to the success of the X Prize program."<br /><br /><br />That should be great for both those companies after the Xprize and SpaceX. Rad.
 
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