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Google backs private Moon landing, Google is offering a $30m prize pot to private firms that land a
SkyeLab
post Sep 14 2007, 08:02 AM
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FROM: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6993373.stm


Firms interested in trying for the prize have until the end of 2012 to mount their Moonshot

Anyone fancy a crack at this?

Cheers

Brian


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djellison
post Sep 14 2007, 09:57 AM
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I can understand how and my why the first X-Prize was won... it was essentially a back-dated seed-fund for sub-orbital tourism. What does this seed? I mean - a little rover on the moon - very very very very cool - cool beyond words - but where's the commercial return on it?

Doug
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Paolo Amoroso
post Sep 14 2007, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 14 2007, 11:57 AM) *
I this seed? I mean - a little rover on the moon - very very very very cool - cool beyond words - but where's the commercial return on it?

According to a message posted to the LUNAR-L mailing list, several people have been thinking about leveraging multiple revenue streams off such a mission for years.


Paolo Amoroso


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SkyeLab
post Sep 14 2007, 12:38 PM
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I thought this was an interesting add on (from the New Scientist online http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn12...ding-prize.html )

"To help aspiring lunar explorers, startup launch services firm Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of El Segundo, California, is offering to fly contestants' rovers on its Falcon rockets at cost, which would be about $7 million for its smallest booster."

Do you think there will be any takers?

Apparently, each team has to be at least 90% privately funded.

Full details at the competition website:
http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/


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djellison
post Sep 14 2007, 01:00 PM
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QUOTE (SkyeLab @ Sep 14 2007, 01:38 PM) *
Do you think there will be any takers?


Sadly, no. I don't think anyone will be prepared to take the financial risk. All credit to Elon for offering cheap Falcon 1 launches - that's a starting point - but that's an LEO payload of about700kg. Within that 700kg - you've got to get a 3km/sec TLI, another 3km/sec or so to get onto the surface when you're there - unless your lander is little more than a cube sat - I don't think the maths adds up. And once you've got a cube sat with wheels on the surface.... HDTV? Not likely.

A cheap orbital mission challenge would have made more sense - but all credit to Google for trying anyway.

Doug
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Toma B
post Sep 14 2007, 01:03 PM
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QUOTE (SkyeLab @ Sep 14 2007, 02:38 PM) *
...Falcon rockets at cost, which would be about $7 million for its smallest booster.

I doubt there is enough payload capacity in that rocket.
Falcon-1 can carry only 670kg to LEO. Can it send anything to the Moon?
I think they will need bigger rocket... unsure.gif huh.gif sad.gif maybe Falcon-9 but that rocket costs 35.000.000$!!!

Edit:
Grrr.....
Doug got to answer first....


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SkyeLab
post Sep 14 2007, 01:15 PM
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How about the Planetary Society?

Emily?


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djellison
post Sep 14 2007, 01:19 PM
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http://www.spacetethers.com/massfraction.html

VERY VERY rough figures - but that would suggest a mass fraction of approx 75-90% to achieve 6km/sec delta V. Staging might help (at that scale?) - so you've got something like 175kg to 70kg of vehicle structure, engines, systems, fuel tanks ( carrying 600kg of fuel). What's left for the actual rover? To coin a phrase, roughly 9/10ths of 4/5ths of 'f' all

Doug
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AndyG
post Sep 14 2007, 01:25 PM
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On paper it's a bit better than a cubesat.

If you can get 670kg to LEO, then you need a further 5.7km/s of dV to the lunar surface. Using hypergolics (for all the right reasons) and a realistic Isp means that the dry weight of the package landed on the surface could be around 80 to 100kg.

Not too shabby.

Andy

Edit: just seen Doug's "no you can't". I'm not sure it's as cut-and-dried as that.
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mcaplinger
post Sep 14 2007, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (Paolo Amoroso @ Sep 14 2007, 03:51 AM) *
According to a message posted to the LUNAR-L mailing list, several people have been thinking about leveraging multiple revenue streams off such a mission for years.

Sure, but anyone who's ever tried it (ever heard of idealab's "BlastOff!"? http://www.diamandis.com/blastoff.html ) has spent a lot of money and gotten nowhere. It's a pretty goofy commercial venture.


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djellison
post Sep 14 2007, 02:01 PM
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QUOTE (AndyG @ Sep 14 2007, 02:25 PM) *
dry weight of the package landed on the surface


How much of that is fuel tankage, engines, plumbing, basic structure etc etc. My bad-maths said something like 70-170kg on the surface - so your proper maths does do a better job smile.gif But given the demands of the prize ( 500m, HDTV ) with the landed payload...I just don't see it as possible. Would a hugely optimistic figure for the 'dead' mass of the vehicle be something like 40kg? Leaving a 30kg vehicle for power, cdh, >1mbps downlink caperbility, and sufficient mobility to drive across the moon. For $27m plus whatever else you can generate from it. I just don't think it's feasable. I would love.. and I mean absolutely LOVE to be proven wrong - a rover on the moon would be utterly fantastic. I just don't see this $30m as making a whole chunk of difference in terms of the likelyhood of it being done privately in the next 5 years.

Doug
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SpaceListener
post Sep 14 2007, 02:09 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 14 2007, 08:00 AM) *
HDTV? Not likely.

Just to let you know that Kaguya will use HDTV for first time film out of Earth! smile.gif
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djellison
post Sep 14 2007, 02:15 PM
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I didn't know Kaguya had it onboard - hopefully we'll be seeing some ultra cool footage in the not to distant future. smile.gif . It's about time that 'our' generation ( i.e. born >Apollo 17) got our Earth rise moment....But when you're 3 tonnes and have 3.5 kw to use.....HDTV's not too big a challenge (any lunar orbiter's a challenge, but you know what I mean) Size 46cm x 42cm x 28cm Mass 16.5kg Power consumption 50W
That description describes the HDTV cameras onboard Kaguya...and probably not far off the bottom lines of size, mass and power for a Falcon 1 launched landed payload in full. smile.gif

Doug
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nprev
post Sep 14 2007, 02:57 PM
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This Google prize is getting a LOT of media attention, so perhaps that's the whole objective. Notice also that they're offering $5M bonuses for visiting "historical sites", which of course would mean Apollo landing sites.

Still...$30M isn't much of an incentive, unless it's meant to help an aspiring company recoup at least some of its development costs. Presumably any company that could pull this off would be "made", though, and perhaps become a prime govt contractor for lunar exploration someday...something like a super MSSS.

Doug's right, though; at the end of the day, it's hard to figure out what Google's real angle is in this; they need more publicity like I need more alimony. Do you suppose that they're so rich that true philanthrophy is their core motivation? blink.gif (Nah...I don't think so either!)

EDIT: Horrible thought- Rover lands at Tranquility Base, drives right over Neil's first footprint on the Moon... sad.gif


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mcaplinger
post Sep 14 2007, 03:21 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Sep 14 2007, 07:15 AM) *
Mass 16.5kg; Power consumption 50W
That description describes the HDTV cameras onboard Kaguya...

We could do HD cameras for a tenth the mass and power, if not less. The formal rules are not yet posted (see http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/com...tion/guidelines ), but the implication is that the realtime video need not be transmitted to Earth in real time, so the telecom system can be pretty modest and not a system driver.


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