Most of the time Ralph Kramden would start his little speech with, “You’re going to the moon, Alice, you’re going to the moon. One of these day, Alice. Pow! Right in the kisser.” And then, staring at our little black and white sets, we would burst out laughing.
Next year, if Ralph can get Alice on the moon and she can move 500 meters, Ralph can collect twenty million bucks. He’ll have competition. There are 16 companies fighting for that prize.
With permission from Uncle Sam, Google is offering the “Google Lunar-X Prize.”
The first privately-funded company to land on the surface of the moon, deploy a robotic lunar vehicle and have it move a minimum of 1640 feet will receive the $20 million. Second team to do this wins $5 million.
This has to be accomplished before the end of 2017.
There is also another $5 million to be given for other milestones.
So far only one team has the United States permission to shoot for the moon.
A California company, Moon Express, now has the go-ahead. In April of this year they submitted the agreed-upon application to the Federal Aviation Administration. Then the document had to channel its way through the U.S. State Department, U.S. Department of Defense, Federal Communications Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and of course NASA. It took five months to go through this process, but ten days ago Moon Express was the first team to make the cut.
This was a positive process, all agencies were in favor, but each had to ask questions never before asked. The start of private companies making trips back and forth to the moon will be a common thing in a few years. The directive they have worked out will be an important regulatory guide to deep-space commercial business.
The future space commercial business can be profitable, bringing back precious metals, resources and rocks for my geologist son-in-law to tell me everything about them.
Some of the other companies that are in the running released pics of their planned lunar vehicles.
This is the vehicle from Moon Team Indus.
I had one of those when I was a kid. My Dad helped me build it.
We would have one kid pushing, one kid steering down the alley hill and one kid standing in the middle of Underwood Street to see if any cars were coming.
Have a great weekend!