Home » Uncategorized » Next Great Leap pursues Google’s Lunar X Prize
ngl_lander_draft_moon_4

Next Great Leap pursues Google’s Lunar X Prize

Mankind’s next giant leap will be a mission of data-gathering.

Next Giant Leap, a Boulder, Colorado company building interplanetary lander/hopper robots, received a $1 million grant from the Charles Start Draper Laboratory to further their technology with the hopes of winning Google’s $30 million Lunar X Prize in 2012.

“We’re developing critical technology for landing and hopping, both to satisfy the rules for the Google Lunar X Prize, and to provide an innovative, regional-scale science measurement capability,” said Seamus Tuohy, a team leader with Next Giant Leap and the director of space systems with Draper Laboratory.

“Unlike rovers that go to a single point on the surface of a planet, and then maybe two kilometers away and back, retreating if something is in the way, these would land, then ascend a bit, do a translation, traverse above the terrain to land in another spot.”

But the hoppers aren’t limited to moon expeditions, says Tuohy. Their technology could also be used to place sensors or gather data from difficult-to-access locations on Earth.

“I believe this would be particularly valuable to the environmental cause,” he says. “The future ability to monitor the environment is a government concern, but who’s to say the best technology and services to measure greenhouse gases, and other things might not come from a commercial enterprise like Next Giant Leap?”

Competitions such as Google’s Lunar X Prize may help to inspire advancements in other areas of research and development, too, says NGL team member Todd J. Mosher, who also works as a program manager at Sierra Nevada Corporation.

“The competition is driving people to get together and figure things out,” says Mosher. “We may not solve this problem in our first mission, but we’re thinking about how to survive a lunar night, which is equivalent to 14 days on earth in darkness, if our vehicles and stations run on solar. If we develop something rugged and robust enough to work in that extreme environment, it will help us back here on earth.”

Next Great Leap has raised roughly $1.5 million so far, including the $200,000 investment from founder Michael Joyce, $125,000 from Sierra Nevada Corp., $100,000 from Jolted Media Group Ltd. and $30,000 from eSpace, an incubator program for space startups.

About Raggy Jin

Check Also

wii-oculus-rift-hoverboard

Try Oculus Rift And Wii To Roam Around On The Back To The Future Hoverboard

Check out how you can fly in virtual space by using an Oculus Rift and a Wii Balance Board.

131129-amz

Amazon Appstore for Android Holiday Deals, Including Free Apps

There are tons of deals from the Amazon Appstore that will be offered starting now and throughout the holiday shopping season. They say that they will have "hundreds of titles that are eitehr free... or available between 50-90% off" the regular price.

131129-google

Black Friday: Google Play Store Apps, Games and Content on Sale All Weekend

Case in point, if you head over to the Google Play Store right now, you'll find that Google is celebrating all Cyber Weekend with discounts on all sorts of content. This includes many popular apps and games

131129-gtab

Black Friday Deal: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-Inch for $100 Off

Did you manage to score any epic Black Friday deals this morning? Are you still ...

131128-diy

Arduino Co-Creator Releases Plans for $200 DIY Mobile Phone

Mellis was one of the people who came up with the now hugely popular Arduino platform and now he has come up with plans for people to build their own cell phone for about $200 in parts.

131128-apple

No Discounts for Apple Black Friday, Just Free Gift Cards

If you were hoping to save yourself some cash as you brave the Black Friday shopping crowds, you'll want to go somewhere other than the official Apple Stores.