X-Prize Foundation set to run a contest
for the best lunar landing equipment.
X-Prize Foundation has announced the names of eight of nine
participants in its upcoming contest for the development of
lunar landing equipment. The competition’s winner will receive a
prize from the Northrop Grumman Corporation. The contest will be
conducted as part of the Wirefly Cup, which will take place in
October, 2007. The number of design teams battling for a prize
worth 2 million American dollars has grown from four to nine.
This contest is supported by NASA within the framework of the
“Millennium Challenge” program. Its primary goal is to interest
commercial organizations in the development of technologies for
the transportation of people and cargo to the moon and back.
According to Peter Diamandis, general director of the X-Prize
Foundation, the management of his organization is placing great
hopes on the contest. The companies already declared to be
taking part in the competition include: Acuity Technologies,
Armadillo Aerospace, BonNova, Masten Space Systems, Micro-Space,
Paragon Labs, SpeedUp and Unreasonable Rocket. The ninth team of
designers wishes to remain anonymous. Some blogs have speculated
that it might be Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s company. The
foundation will declare the name of the ninth company 60 days
before the beginning of the contest.
The United Sates wants to
build a permanent base on the moon.
Man first set foot on the moon in 1969. NASA, America’s space
agency, has informed the world that after manned flights to the
moon are renewed in 2020, it plans to begin construction of a
lunar base where astronauts would reside permanently.
In all likelihood, the base will be built at one of the poles of
Earth’s natural satellite. It is believed that the poles receive
more of the sunshine needed for solar batteries.
It will operate as a scientific center, and possibly as a
launching pad for manned flights to Mars. What will the moon
base look like?
The United States has already announced that it will construct a
new space ship to repeat the Apollo mission of 1972. Financing
for the project will presumably come from money saved by
canceling the space shuttle program in 2010. So far nothing is
known about the way the astronauts’ work at the base will be
organized or about how soon it will begin to function. According
to the Associated Press, NASA vice-president Shana Dale has
announced that the approach to this lunar mission will be
fundamentally different from the approach employed in the first
flights to the moon.
NASA prefers in the future to have a constantly functioning
lunar base, rather than fly there with short missions as was
done in the 1960s.
In order to build the base, NASA may well request help from
private companies and other governments.
Plans to send astronauts to the moon were announced by President
Bush after the disaster that struck the space shuttle
NASA has stated that the ship to be used for the lunar flight
will be built by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.