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Hungarian company awarded NASA contract to develop Moon mini-rover

A Hungarian company has won a NASA contract worth $225K to develop what the company calls its Puli Moon mini-rover.

Named after a Hungarian breed of dog, the Puli rover is a low-cost platform designed to carry different payloads, including the ice water snooper, which won the 2020 “Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload” challenge, a competition organised by the U.S. space agency. Weighing less than 400 grammes (14 oz), its purpose is to probe for water ice by identifying and mapping the subsurface hydrogen content of the lunar soil.

The “news article” at the link appears to be a poorly researched article distributed by Reuters that has now been reprinted without changes by such stalwart American mainstream news outlets like the New York Post and MSN.com, to name two. Neither bothered to do any further research.

The article falsely claims that the airplane-based SOFIA telescope recently confirmed there is water on the Moon. It also claims that this rover will be on a lunar mission next year, something that does not seem likely at all.

A look at the company’s website clarifies things. The company competed in a NASA contest offering its design of a very tiny lightweight rover, won, and was then awarded a larger development contract of $225K. No launch is presently set, though if the company is successful in building it for this cost, they will likely get a berth on a later unmanned mission.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

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