Thursday, February 17, 2011

India joins Google Lunar X Prize

        First came the discovery of water by Chandrayaan-1. Last week this important find was confirmed by Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope. This was followed by an annoucement by Isro chairman, K.Radhakrishnan, that India may participate in Nasa's mission to the moon, ``MoonRise.'' Yes, a fairly active period for India on the lunar front.

      On Thursday, it was again the turn of secretary of India chapter of Moon Society, Pradeep Mohandas, to inform ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM) that India will be participating in the prestigious Google Lunar X Prize. The Indian space enthus have been named their group Team Indus and its leader is New Delhi-based Rahul Narayan.

      Honestly, Pradeep has been off and on talking BMM about this lunar competition. But BMM a spacebuff and passionate about space exploration, somehow failed to respond very actively!  BMM accepts that it was its fault!!!!!!!!!!!  But not on Thursday night when BMM made its best efforts to contact Rahul in New Delhi, but did not succeed. BMM was doing a report about Team Indus for The Times of India.

      BMM accessed Team Indus's website which said :
    ``Team Indus seeks to represent the aspirations of one of the world's oldest civilization and youngest population.

     ``Headquartered in New Delhi, India we are a team of professionals from Technology, Science, Finance and Media background all of whom have made a habit of pushing boundaries.

     ``Team Indus is a for-Profit organization and plans for GLXP to be the first step towards establishing a Global Innovation brand. We plan to reward all contributors to our team by ensuring long-term commercial interest.

     ``We are in the process of setting up a non-profit education foundation that will work towards creating a space education & awareness campaign in India. All articles, media generated in our pursuit of GLXP will be assigned to this foundation.

     ``We have a few out-of-the-box theories on each phase of the mission, going radical on technology was the obvious choice given the late entry. Our initial planning suggests we will take about 3years to prepare for a potential launch, the launch in all likelihood will be done from India. Team Indus plans to attempt the Endurance and Distance bonus prizes.

     ``It is a privilege to be part of GLXP's exclusive group of teams, we are excited by the possibilities and eagerly look forward to putting up a good show!

     BMM wishes Team Indus God Speed and Good Luck and once again looks forward to seeing the Indian tri colour on the moon

     The significance of the competition is that it is the first privately-funded race to the moon. Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation announced on Wednesday night 29 teams from 17 countries will take part in the lunar race for the 30 million dollar prize.

    The competition, which was first announced on September 134,2007, envisages teams flying a robot to the moon which can travel atleast 500 metres on the lunar surface and transmit, video, images and data back to the earth. 

    The second prize is five million dollars. In addition there is a four million dollar bonus prizes for achieving specific mission objectives, including operation at night, travelling more than five kms, detection of water and executing a precise landing near an Apollo site.

     An award of one million dollar will be given to the team which demonstrates the greatest attempts to promote diversity in the field of space exploration.
     BMM hopes to interact with Team Indus members frequently in the days ahead and also participate in the mission in the best way it can.
     All the very very best.


1 comment:

  1. Dr. Doug Haynes, the owner of the first spaceline to fly in the original X-prize race during the Wright Brothers centennial celebration event, invites the participants of the Google Lunar competition to be the first too. Thanks to God participants now have a guaranteed opportunity to book a safe cargo ride to the moon in the cargo hull of his newest Haynes Saucer II at The Haynes Saucer pilots, or an approved mission specialist will insure that the robotic mission is a success by acting as back up technicians. The remote controlled vehicles will remain safe at all times since the Hayes Saucer is the only manned spacecraft that has the ability to provide safety ejection features during all phases of the flight.