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FYI: ISU Team Project

Page history last edited by William Pomerantz 12 years, 3 months ago

FYI: One of the four team projects that students in this summer's International Space University program in Barcelona will be able to study is focused on the Google Lunar X PRIZE. It's probably worth connecting with them to see what they are doing, and how you can collaborate.

 

I don't know if this is the final version, but I have a copy of their prospectus...

 

 

 

TP Lunar X-Prize: Return to the Moon in a New Way

 

“How much further can we go? What are the final frontiers in this quest for travel? Will humankind only be satisfied when journeys into space become readily available and affordable?” – Jules Verne, 1865.

 

* Introduction:

The Moon, the natural satellite of our home planet, is certainly one of the most observed celestial objects with one of the earliest known references to the Moon as part of the Perigordian bas-relief known as the "Goddess of Laussel" (circa 23,000 BC, Musee d'Aquitaine, Dordogne, France) which includes a lunar calendar with the crescent moon depicted as a horn and with 13 clearly engraved "horns" representing the lunar year (Marshack, A., 1964). The fascination with the Moon has been constant throughout human history (and pre-history) as much as anything due to its unique, detailed and changing view, thus drawing both our imagination and our desire to ascend beyond our terrestrial origins.

 

“What I remember perhaps most is starting up that ladder and looking over my shoulder and looking at those footprints down there and realizing that they were really mine and that there weren't going to be any (more) for a long time to come.” – Eugene Cernan, the last human to walk on the surface of the Moon.

 

In the beginning of the space age, the Moon was the target of many robotic probes paving the way for, and culminating in, the first human landing on another celestial body.  While a return to human exploration of the Moon remains a long-term goal, the human desire to explore the Moon is as strong as ever. In recent years there has been an increasing new and world-wide interest in the Moon and its exploration.  Various nations have already sent or are planning to send probes for scientific observation or exploration, opening an International Lunar Decade (as proclaimed by The Planetary Society). The number of countries involved in robotic lunar exploration is growing with many either operating complete missions, providing payloads, and/or participating in scientific observations. However, such missions are usually the domain of governmental space agencies and, quite often, as part of an international collaboration between  multiple countries which can have significant advantages and disadvantages in the actual  scientific return due to public visibility, project schedule and duration, management overhead, program costs, technology development, etc.

 

While government institutions can find themselves hampered by many of these significant issues, the advances in technical and non-technical capabilities in today’s world are now able to provide opportunities to private and academic institutions to design and implement their own space exploration missions which would have been impossible even a decade ago. In order to catalyze private sector lunar exploration, the Google Lunar X-Prize (GLXP) was developed as an international competition with the objective to win a robotic race to the Moon and, in doing so, challenging teams to develop new low-cost approaches for space exploration.

 

* Objectives:

The three primary objectives of the ISU project, equal in priority, are to:

a)      Provide experience in multi-disciplinary, international teamwork, under pressure of time and resources, on a problem of current world interest.

b)      Develop a strategy to increase the technical and non-technical benefit of the Lunar X-Prize and to enable long-term effects of the competition.

c)      Produce a substantial and influential report that is useful for organizers, supporters and participants of the competition as well as governmental institutions.

 

 

 

* Background:

Based on the idea of the famous Orteig-Prize from 1919 rewarding the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris and other aviation awards, the X-Prize program was conceived and designed to foster developments and breakthroughs through competition such as the Ansari X-Prize for a first step in private human spaceflight.

 

On September 13, 2007 the X-Prize Foundation and Google Inc. announced the Google Lunar X-Prize (GLXP).  Briefly, the main goal is to successfully land a robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface which must 1) move for at least 500 m, 2) transmit videos, images and data back to Earth, and 3) to occur before the end of 2012.  The GLXP carries a US$20 Million prize for completion of the primary task, but completing additional tasks (e.g. moving for a longer distance, imaging man made artefacts, etc.) will result in bonus prizes of up to another US$10 Million.

 

“Travel enables us to enrich our lives with new experiences, to enjoy and to be educated, to learn respect for foreign cultures, to establish friendships, and above all to contribute to international cooperation and peace throughout the world.” – Jules Verne, 1865

 

The lunar robotic explorers, while visibly the most important, are really the smallest and most insignificant part of the overall Lunar X-Prize competition. The real opportunity for significant societal impact lies beyond the scope of the development of new technologies and private sector lunar exploration. Rather, the most important part of this program is the opportunity to leverage these activities into wide dissemination engaging the imagination of the entire world and the direct participation of as many as possible. It is here where the engineering of large scale social involvement in lunar exploration will cause a paradigm shift in how the world perceives lunar exploration and which will provide the fundamental basis for support of the return to human exploration both in political will and financial investment.

 

Your task, should you choose to accept this challenge, is to provide the fundamental philosophy, framework, roadmap, and methods by which the Lunar X-Prize Foundation can effectively and systematically capture the work of the individual competitors and create a world-wide social movement in which the citizens of Earth will no longer view space exploration as the domain of a privileged few, but instead as a fundamental human social activity in which all can participate.  You will be obligated to consider all facets including, but not limited to, commercial and business applications, international laws and treaties, governmental and private sector participation, education and outreach, and social engineering.

 

“Kaguya-hime was placed onto a palanquin and dressed in a feathered robe to take off to the Moon.” – The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter / The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

 

This interdisciplinary and multicultural ISU team must perform at least the tasks listed below. In addition to this list, team members are encouraged to be creative and innovative in developing new ideas that can be explored, evaluated and documented in their report within the scope of an SSP project:

 

* Project Requirements:

- Determine the technical and non-technical challenges the GLXP teams and the organizers face (e.g. proving performance, judging results and disputes, control of the competition, risks and damages, responsibilities)

- Governmental space agencies are excluded from participation but are very interested in the results of the Lunar X-Prize. Determine how space agencies or other governmental institutions can benefit from the competition and how to create and support a Lunar X-Prize friendly environment.

- Examine and analyze possible spin-offs, follow-ups and side effects of the competition in different areas (e.g. law and policy, marketing and merchandising, alternative launch services, commercial exploration, infrastructure, educational and public outreach).

- Competition is evaluated differently in various cultures or societies. Examine and analyze additional justifications and motivations, as well as potential supportive areas (science, exploration, technology development, etc.), to foster participation, especially from non-traditional space-faring countries, in order to create a true international activity.

- Develop a long-term strategy with benefits and enabling effects for the space arena and the society beyond the competition and its duration.

 

* Project Deliverables:

1.      A letter of intent of 3-5 pages maximum must submitted to the SSP 08 Director on August 1, 2008 describing the team’s response to the objectives and tasks including a work plan with milestones.

2.      A final report document (not to exceed 100 pages) to be issued as printed copies and on CD-ROM must be submitted to the SSP 08 Director by August 26, 2008.

3.      A 16- page executive summary to be issued as printed copies and on CD-ROM must be submitted to the SSP 08 Director by August 26, 2008.

4.      An oral presentation of the work must be delivered on August 28, 2008.

5.      A Conference Paper Titled,  “The Lunar X-Prize – A tool to Catalyze the First Generation of Private Enterprise as well as Governmental Lunar Exploration and Beyond” to be submitted and presented at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2008, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland (Sept. 29-Oct. 3). Note: While the abstract has been submitted for this in anticipation of this opportunity for the Team to present their results at an international forum, this Project Deliverable is optional (but highly encouraged!).

 

* Suggested References:

- G. Heiken, D. Vaniman, B. French: “Lunar Sourcebook – A User’s Guide to the Moon”, Cambridge University Press, 1991 (out of print) – Digital CD-ROM-Version available at Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, USA (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/)

- B. Jolliff, M. Wieczorek, C. Shearer, C. Neal: “New Views of the Moon”, Mineralogical Society of America, 2006

- P. Ulivi, D. Harland: “Lunar Exploration: Human Pioneers and Robotic Surveyors”, Springer Praxis Books, Praxis Publishing, 2004

- A. Ball, J. Garry, R. Lorenz, V. Kerzhanovich: “Planetary Landers and Entry Probes”, Cambridge University Press, 2007

- B. Harvey: “Soviet and Russian Lunar Exploration”, Springer Praxis Books, Praxis Publishing, 2007

- R. Fleeter: “The Logic of Microspace”, Microcosm/Kluwer, 2000

- Lunar and Planetary Institute – Resources (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/), The Moon (http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/)

- X-Prize Foundation – Google Lunar X-Prize (http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/)

- J. Verne: “De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon)”, Edition Hetzel, 1865

Comments (2)

Bradley Cheetham said

at 1:52 pm on Jun 17, 2008

This looks great. Prize will no doubt be a big portion of the future, and as such an important part of our paper. I look forward to collaborating where possible.

William Pomerantz said

at 1:08 pm on Jul 14, 2008

FYI: I just spoke to a current ISU student about their team project. I directed them to this website--hopefully they'll get in touch soon! I do think there collaboration between the NASA Academy and the ISU SSP could be good for all parties.

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