Carnegie Mellon unveils its Google X-Prize lunar rover


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The lunar rover that one of the competitors wants to use to win the Google Lunar X-prize was unveiled on Monday.

The rover was built by students as part of a college school project. Whether it ever flies is entirely unknown. The effort, however, has helped train a new generation of space engineers.

5 comments

  • Competential

    Is this the 100th lunar rover developed, which will never fly? Why waste clever students efforts on what is worthless?

  • James Fincannon

    Note that the article mentions how they want to explore the lunar pits we have discussed in this forum before.
    “One possibility is to use Andy to explore lunar pits. These are giant, newly discovered, steep-sided holes created by the collapse of underground voids. ”
    These pits are astounding and unexplored; it will be like coming upon the Grand Canyon,” Whittaker said. “Some pits might be entrances to caves. You can’t explore caves from a satellite; you’ve got to be there, on the ground, so robots are the next big step.”

  • James Fincannon

    “Andy will visit a pit in the Moon’s Lacus Mortis region, which is Latin for “Lake of Death”.”
    http://lunar.cs.cmu.edu/#robot
    http://web.archive.org/web/20140529052003/http://www.astrobotic.com/2014/03/03/lunar-destination-lacus-mortis/
    Outer funnel
    Size (m) Depth (m)
    Latitude: 44.962 deg
    Longitude: 25.610 deg
    Central pit Size: 140 by 110 m
    Central pit Depth: 80 m
    Outer funnel Size: 280 by 210 m
    Outer funnel Depth: 35 m

  • Edward

    What an interesting question.

    So, let us assume that your premise is true, that the rover is worthless (which it isn’t). As I recall, I performed quite a few experiments and built several do-dads (read: devices) during my time in school, all of which had been built before and none of which had any use other than to teach me some new skill.

    So let’s say that these students put a rover on the moon and that it fails to rove. Was it really worthless?

    Several space companies have been started by people who had never put anything into space. Yet this project is going to give enthusiasm and some amount of confidence (and more confidence if it actually roves) into students who are potential entrepreneurs. Is it really worthless then?

    And if a group of students can do it, then what is wrong with the rest of us that we don’t do it, too? If the students make it look easy, then those of us with a lot of experience have a better shot at raising capital in order to reach for our own goals in space (and maybe increased enthusiasm and confidence). Was it really worthless?

    Sometimes a transcontinental railroad has to be built by a bunch of people who have no railroading experience in order to show the other railroads that it *can* be done.

    (My brother, with no electrical or electronics experience, once designed and built his own computer and made it run. When he decided to turn the wire wrap into a circuit board, the guy selling him the software that was needed to design it told him that very few electrical engineers design and make there own computers, because even with all that experience they think that it is too hard to do. I’m sure that Elon Musk started his own space company only because no one warned him just how hard it is to get into space.)

  • Cotour

    Not very impressive, looks like its designed to explore the parking lot at a local Walmart.

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