India’s Moon Shot: the unlikely outsiders shooting for the lunar X-Prize
The bases of the contest are simple: a Rover must complete a dash 500 meters before the position, with 20 million (16 million pounds) for the winner. But when the race takes place on the moon, the rules are the smallest problems.
First, the starting line is 384 400 km. Then there is the question of the shoe. While sinking Rover, it empties into the ground should be able to cope with the sand and grease, engaging rocks rock the moon. What to bring? Wheels or caterpillars? Wheels or stilts?
And then there is the question of opportunity: Google Lunar XPRIZE that challenged teams of successful earth amateurs on the lunar surface, run a Rover and send images, begins as soon as the enemy the first competitor touches any part of the surface of the moon. But come early and you can never leave the blocks. At night, temperatures can fall below -200 ° C, low enough to put a computer in a coma; So low, in fact, to freeze the steel.
“We look at the west and ask:” Why does not Google do it outside of India? “However, few people get up and do something ‘
Chanda Gonzales Mowrer, XPRIZE Lunar
Most attempts to reach the moon in the last 50 years have only achieved a crash landing. By adopting this approach, the only thing to do is to expect some scientific instruments to survive the impact. However, soft landing using liquid fuel rocket to slow the transmitter a few km / h to allow a landing kiss. Like trying to land a remote-controlled helicopter for almost half a million miles.
Only three nations have managed to land softly on the Moon: the United States (Surveyor Uno, 1966); USSR (Moon 9, 1966); And China (Chang’e-3, 2013). Each received the support of millions of dollars of funds. There is no support for XPRIZE equipment.
Google announced the Lunar XPRIZE in 2007. He drew the dreams of all walks of life: Beardy retouching men in sheds; Local robotic herds; College students with bright eyes. But even in the 21st century, when the cost of components is almost as fallen beyond its greater power, gradual landing on the moon remains a delightfully difficult task. The initial deadline for claiming the prize was December 2012. Google has extended the deadline three times. Tens of hope fell. Finally, it was resolved: 23:59 on December 31, 2017. The competition was reduced to five participants: teams from the United States; Israel; Japan; An international team; And the Indo Team – the hope of India.
The Indus team is a bearer of the torch of a new India, “said the founder of Rahul Narayan. It is late blast January and Bangalore – far from the cold British winter I met Narayan began forty years wearing thick glasses and a Pole. “He leans forward in his swivel chair.” We are known as the world’s IT fund. But India could be so much more. Our Moonshot could inspire many new businesses and research. And some of them will be in space. ”
The idea that a great career could drive the industry this way has a historical precedent. In 1919, New York hotelier Raymond Orteig offered a price of US $ 25,000 for the first nonstop transatlantic flight between New York and Paris. While a number of famous airmen represented the price and have built multi-engine aircraft with two or three pilot Charles Lindbergh, a young airplane pilot who flew alone in a single-engine St. Louis Spirit plane won. The race has encouraged investment in civil aviation. The so-called “Lindbergh boom” was a 30-fold increase in air traffic.