Tag Archives: PTScientists

Former Google Lunar X-Prize competitor still alive

Capitalism in space: Part Time Scientists, a Germany company partly sponsored by Audi that was formerly a competitor for the Google Lunar X-Prize, has reiterated its plans to land a privately-built and funded rover near the Apollo 17 landing site, and to do it careful so as to not damage the site’s historical significance.

The company has pledged its support to the organization For All Moonkind, which is dedicated to protecting the Apollo landing sites.

A review of the PTScientists website however provides little information on the company’s test schedule leading up to this lunar rover mission. I must therefore remain skeptical.

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Another Google Lunar X-Prize team secures launch contract

Part Time Scientists, one of the teams competing for the Google Lunar X-Prize, has secured a launch contract through launch rideshare broker Spaceflight Inc.

Their rover will launch as a secondary payload. It is the broker’s job to secure that slot.

PTScientists plans to land its rovers in the moon’s Taurus-Littrow valley, the last place humans set foot on the lunar surface in December 1972, in the hopes of getting a closer look at how the Apollo moon buggy has survived over the past four and a half decades in the extreme temperatures and inhospitable conditions on the moon. “There is a reason we have chosen the Apollo 17 landing site,” said Karsten Becker, PTScientists electronics head, said in a call with reporters on Tuesday. “That is because the Taurus-Littrow valley is geographically very interesting — that is why it was chosen for Apollo 17 — but it is also a very-well documented site. There are many pictures where you can see that it is very flat, and that there are not that many stones laying around.”

The landing site has been chosen to be within reach of the Apollo 17 site, but not so close that it could risk damage to the NASA preservation heritage area. “We want to land 3 to 5 kilometers [2 to 4 miles] away from the [Apollo 17] landing site,” said Becker.

This team is now the fourth X-Prize team to secure a launch contract. All are hoping to launch within the next two years.

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