×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Solar-Powered Moon Rover To Explore Apollo Landing

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the check-out-the-whole-stage dept.

Robotics 151

Mike writes "Carnegie Mellon roboticist Dr. William Whittaker has teamed up with Astrobiotic Technology to develop a solar powered moon rover that will explore the Apollo landing site in 2011. The photovoltaic clad robot features two electric motors in the hub of each wheel, and a half cone of solar generators up top that will power the wheels, run computers, and beam stereo HD video back to earth. The project has been entered in the $25 million Google Lunar X Prize competition."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

151 comments

horsecock, sodomy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28790887)

horsecock, sodomy.

This entire thread, summarized: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791149)

"Bet they can do it on the sound-stage in Nevada" - Idiot who doesn't understand that every other idiot also thought of the same joke at the same time.

"But we didn't go to the moon! I saw it on Fox, so it must be true" - Flaming moron who couldn't find their ass with both hands, a copy of an anatomy textbook and a full length mirror.

"LOL, wut, we didn't go to the moon, you peeps are sheep" - Troll, pretending to be the above idiot, thereby becoming a recursive idiot instead (idiot^2).

"NASA SUCKS!!!" - Multiple varieties of idiot, any one of whom very well might be a community college certified rocket scientist.

"NOES! They'll destroy the historic bootprints!" - Idiot who believes that lack of erosion signals lack of change. The bootprints are likely long gone, due to heating and cooling of the rocks, vibrations from the ground and, at the landing sites proper, the exhaust from the ascent stage of the lander. Nobody but your high school science teacher seriously thinks they'll last a hundred years, or whatever numeric value you were told.

"Git offa my lawn you kids!" - Angry curmudgeon tired of being able to predict slashdot posts in advance, just by seeing the fucking story title.

There, now you don't have to read the thread. You just read every post, condensed into one. You're welcome. Now, go defy expectations and RTFA instead.

Re:This entire thread, summarized: (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791343)

Sad but true. Now If you'll excuse me I must join the manned vs unmanned debate with a polished version of the same arguments I've been using for years in every previous occurrence of that debate I've participated to.

Re:This entire thread, summarized: (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791435)

Now, go defy expectations and RTFA instead.
defy expectations and RTFA instead.
and RTFA instead.
RTFA

RTFA? What are you some kinda young'un who don't know who things work around here? Get offa my lawn!

No (3, Insightful)

amstrad (60839) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790909)

I think the Apollo landing sites need to be preserved for posterity.

Re:No (1)

robbiedo (553308) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791219)

Could you imagine that they run the rover over the American flag, then go back and forward a couple times, and for an encore, they wipe out the first steps. Then some Congress critter says, "Why there ought to be a law!"

Re:No (1)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792005)

IIRC the LEM already knocked it over when it blasted off for the return flight. Theoretically a lot of the bootprints will also have been erased by the exhaust as well.

I think there's a lot of value to returning to the sites, if only to see how the material withstood the stress of the temperature swings from night and day, long term effects of being in a vacuum and exposed to the solar winds and so on.

Re:No (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792475)

IIRC the LEM already knocked it over when it blasted off for the return flight. Theoretically a lot of the bootprints will also have been erased by the exhaust as well.

I'm not so sure about that. The LEM [wikimedia.org] consisted of two parts, the descent stage, and the ascent stage. The Ascent stage stood about 11 feet off of the ground atop the descent stage. The descent stage would have acted as a deflector [geocities.com], shunting aside the ascent motor exhaust and protecting the bootprint. If you watch the Apollo 14 [youtube.com] and Apollo 17 [youtube.com] ascents, you can see how surprisingly gentle they are. The bootprints may have been filled in a little, but likely they wouldn't have been erased by the exhaust. You've got to remember, there's no atmosphere on the moon, so the exhaust expands in all directions. Furthermore, it doesn't push any air out of the way, so there's no collateral dust movement. The final frame of this montage [workingonthemoon.com] of Apollo 15's ascent shows rover tire marks surviving the exhaust.

No, the thing that would have destroyed the first steps was the astronauts themselves as they did their moonwalks.

Re:No (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792617)

Aside from the flag being knocked over from the blast on lift of, the flag was also made from plastic and that can't handle intense UV radiation all that well. So there is a good chance that not much stuff is left from the flag. Also I think the famous footprint photo was Aldrin's foot, not Neil's and the original first footprint might already have been run over numerous times.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791329)

Why? Sure, its "cool" to preserve everything, but its a heck of a lot more valuable to see how the machines have fared for the eventual colonization of the moon and for future generations. I'm not exactly sure what the point is if we are looking back on history rather than creating it.

Re:No (2)

auLucifer (1371577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791425)

Mod parent up. Why should we preserve it? How are we suppose to move forward (by seeing how the machines have fared and see if it is possible to use this as a launch to Mars or possible location for colonisation) if we refuse to tread on the steps of those that came before? Simply keeping the markings there for no other reason then posterity just sounds like a waste to me when there are things we can learn.

Re:No (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 4 years ago | (#28793363)

Why? Sure, its "cool" to preserve everything, but its a heck of a lot more valuable to see how the machines have fared for the eventual colonization of the moon and for future generations. I'm not exactly sure what the point is if we are looking back on history rather than creating it.

Okay then how about preserving the Apollo 11 site but trashing the others? Then everybody's happy.

Re:No (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 4 years ago | (#28793407)

Except we already did that.

Apollo 12 landed a walking distance from the Surveyor 3 probe and collected samples and pieces to study the effects of long exposure to the "elements".

We don't need to go to the Apollo 11 landing site. We don't even need to go to the fucking moon again right now. NASA, listen to Aldrin and go to MARS for Pete's sake. That's what you should focus on!

Really? REALLY? (5, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791751)

Oh, for fuck's sake...we go to the trouble to build a super slick rover to explore the surface of another planet, and they want to waste time visiting the .0001% that we already have explored? If there isn't something better to be exploring on the moon, why the hell are we going again?

I knew we were a glorified pack of narcissistic monkeys but this just take it.

"Lets go look and see where we landed LAST time we were here, that seems like a good idea."

Re:Really? REALLY? (1, Redundant)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791965)

It's the economic crisis at work, NASA can't afford to build a new set for a "moon landing", so they are just reusing their old one, thus requiring them to have a cover up for why the old props are in the shot.

Re:Really? REALLY? (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792577)

I knew we were a glorified pack of narcissistic monkeys but this just take it.

I don't know about you, but I personally think it's pretty cool that an independent team might be able to accomplish with a few million dollars what it previously took an entire government billions of dollars to do.

Re:Really? REALLY? (1)

Poobar (1558627) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792857)

I think it'd be even cooler if they went somewhere else on the moon and did some actual science, rather than an attention seeking stunt. It's a damn shame, and a waste of a brilliant machine.

typoinsummary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791901)

It's Astrobotic.

YES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28792531)

I think that HD video will help preserve what is there.

no need to contaminate the site to do so.

I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28792783)

Heck, why not coat the whole lunar landing site with clear epoxy to preserve everything or at least the foot prints.

Re:No (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28793507)

Agree we should protect Apollo 11's landing site, but what about the later missions?

I don't really feel quite as attached to say, Apollo 17's landing site and I'm sure it would be useful to know how the hardware has held up 40 years in space.

Buzz Aldrin punch (5, Funny)

t000lish (1146879) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790917)

Re:Buzz Aldrin punch (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791471)

This single punch is all that's required to earn my respect. No speech, interview, or biography holds as much weight to the punch he threw. It's an act of pure love and protection of the sacrifice he made to make history for all mankind.

Buzz Aldrin, you f-ing ROCK!!!

Re:Buzz Aldrin punch (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791505)

What's sad is that he sued Buzz Aldrin for this. I don't know. If I just got my ass kicked by a septegenerian, I think I would hide in a hole and hope everyone forgot. I certainly wouldn't sue the guy.

Re:Buzz Aldrin punch (2, Funny)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28793463)

The case was tossed out too, making him look even more stupid!

I can imagine the Judge's reaction upon viewing the video evidence...

My verdict: you are a mega-wanker; he should have hit you harder!

NEXT!

Re:Buzz Aldrin punch (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791981)

Well, Buzz just proved that he WAS a coward and a liar. And an inarticulate monkey who couldn't use words and just flailed his arms.

Re:Buzz Aldrin punch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28792677)

Are you aware of the fact that the asshole that gets punched, Bart Sibrel, whom I won't dignify by calling him a reporter, has been harrassing the astronauts for years when making his hoax theory films? Words hadn't sufficed so it was about time that reality hit him.

Lots of sun in Arizona! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28790931)

This should work well there. :D

Please leave the landing sites alone! (4, Insightful)

jms (11418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790935)

Sending a mouse to disturb the eternal footprints of giants. Sort of a metaphor for the current state of NASA, sadly.

Re:Please leave the landing sites alone! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791537)

Another GLXP team was quoted as saying "we promise to stay outside the fence".

Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (4, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790941)

I hope that they put on a really really good telephoto lense. Those original footprints have the chance of lasting for thousands of years if WE DON'T STOMP ALL OVER THEM WITH A FRICKING ROBOT.

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28790959)

You are aware that most (if not all) of the footprints were obliterated by the rocket that took the astronauts off the moon, right? Aldrin's famous first footprint exists only as a photograph.

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (-1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791039)

The studio lifted the LEM upper stage with a crane and added the rocket exhaust as animation later. Everything is safe in props storage.

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (2, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791797)

Wait a few seconds and I'll be back with Buzz Aldrin and some brass knuckles :)

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (4, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791109)

You are aware that most (if not all) of the footprints were obliterated by the rocket that took the astronauts off the moon, right?

Uh, no they weren't. In fact, you can see the tracks of the astronauts in the latest images of the Apollo 11 landing site [discovermagazine.com] returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Aldrin's famous first footprint exists only as a photograph.

That's not at all obvious. When the rockets of the ascent stage were fired, thus beginning the return to rendezvous with Columbia, the surface of the moon may have been shielded by the components of the LM that were left behind.

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (4, Informative)

Da Cheez (1069822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791643)

In fact, you can see the tracks of the astronauts in the latest images of the Apollo 11 landing site [discovermagazine.com] returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Um, maybe it's just me but I don't see any footprints in the LRO image of the Apollo 11 landing site. Perhaps you're referring to the footprints in the Apollo 14 image? Those footprints go quite a long ways away from the LM and due to the pixelation of the image it's hard to tell just how well-preserved they might be that close to the descent stage.

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791125)

If the flag was pushed over the first foot steps are certainly dust in the wind.

"The ascent stage of the LM separated ...I was concentrating on the computers, and Neil was studying the attitude indicator, but I looked up long enough to see the flag fall over.

There are plenty to preserve and nobody would outright try and destroy them I'm sure but honestly who cares, maybe if it's the first footprint other than that I'm waiting for the day when I can put my prints there and nobody cares.

Hell send up a robot that can cast a footprint!

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792843)

If the flag was pushed over the first foot steps are certainly dust in the wind.

Uh, there is no wind on the Moon ;-)

Re:Here's hoping they'll observe from a distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791057)

Long distance shots aren't hard to do in places with no atmosphere.

heh, what's that footprint worth on eBay? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791115)

I agree, messing them up does nobody any good.

Now, if you could dig them up and bring them back, along with some other artifacts, now that would be worth something!

Do regular international salvage laws apply to abandoned moon gear?

Re:heh, what's that footprint worth on eBay? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791323)

I would think that no laws apply in space. Sure, we have the moon treaty, but that's hardly a paninternational agreement.

The only rules that apply are those that others have the ability and will to enforce. Both factors severely reduce the number of people that will bother you up there.

Of course, if you upset enough people, you might not want to try coming back.

Re:heh, what's that footprint worth on eBay? (1)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792039)

You touched upon the two most important facets: lunar exploration is covered by international treaties, and national laws become relevant when you return back into that country's territory. IIRC there are some laws that govern US citizens' involvement in other space programmes since it is a legitimate issue of national security.

But wait... (0, Redundant)

argmanah (616458) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790951)

Couldn't they just send a rover to like Nevada or something? I read on the internet that's where the moon landings happened, so it must be true.

Horrible Idea (2, Insightful)

MarkLR (236125) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790953)

I think the Apollo landing sites should be off limits. One mistake and Armstrong's first boot prints could be destroyed. I cannot believe that a group of scientists have the audacity to mess around with the Apollo 11 site.

Re:Horrible Idea (3, Interesting)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791045)

Armstrong's first boot prints must surely have been destroyed when the ascent module fired its main engine. However, there are probably other footprints further from the LM site that should be preserved.

Re:Horrible Idea (5, Funny)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791179)

If only Armstrong made a giant leap instead of a small step then the first footprint might have survived.

Re:Horrible Idea (4, Interesting)

JPLemme (106723) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791215)

Armstrong's first boot prints were most likely destroyed the minute Buzz Aldrin hopped off the ladder after him. It's the last bootprints that would have been obliterated by the ascent module.

Re:Horrible Idea (2, Interesting)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792061)

Actually, the first bootprints might have survived due to the LEM base acting as an umbrella. Sure, the flag may have been knocked over (Aldrin saw it fall), but the lack of atmosphere means there would be no swirling of the dust.

Re:Horrible Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28793345)

And what happens if a small asteroid just bumps into that spot on the moon? We best send some missile defense system up to preserve the landing space.

Could someone please explain (4, Insightful)

JayTech (935793) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790969)

Why is it necessary that we go back and explore what was accomplished in the past? Call me stupid, but it seems like a rover on the moon could do something more useful than exploring a bunch of dusty boot prints and some used equipment. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Re:Could someone please explain (1)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791049)

It might be worth it just to shut up the hoax conspiracy theorists. When private companies are sending their own rovers to the moon, it's pretty hard to call it a government cover-up anymore. Of course, I'm sure it won't convince the die-hards. Nothing will.

Re:Could someone please explain (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791075)

They think it will get them press.

I bet, in the end, they don't do it, but send the rover elsewhere.

Re:Could someone please explain (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791083)

Sure, you're a cock smoking butt sucker and you enjoy a nice man-mustard martini every night. You fuck donkeys and pee on dogs. Your mother was a carpet cleaning turtle and your grandma plays with his ass every three, maybe four days.

Consider yourself enlightened, you deserve it.

Re:Could someone please explain (5, Insightful)

isaac338 (705434) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791263)

Why is it necessary that we go back and explore what was accomplished in the past?

Because the relics of the past visits will give us valuable insight into long-term exposure of our machinery in the environment of the Moon - something that is surely relevant to future efforts of colonization. All the things we left behind have been sitting (hopefully?) untouched for 40 years getting bombarded with micrometeoroids, experiencing huge temperature swings and moonquakes, and generally experiencing the reality of existing there.

I find it fascinating and am excited to see pictures of how the sites have weathered.

Re:Could someone please explain (1)

DigitalStone (1502161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791301)

What about ocean exploration? Roughly more than 90% is unexplored. There are many yet undiscovered organisms in our oceans here. Ones that may hold the key to fighting disease or used to find a way to cut our dependence on fossil fuels. The lunar landings are a modern testament to mans advancements and we should take pride in that. Going back seems at this point seems a bit over the top. Why waste resources that could be put to benefit all mankind? Instead of Remote controlled cars on other moons and planets, why not send remote controlled submersibles to retrieve the undiscovered life that still remains on our planet?

Re:Could someone please explain (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791591)

If we never go back, then us going in the first place was little better than a once and done gimmick. I'd call it more a demonstration of humanities short attention span and lack of drive than a testament to man's advancement.

Furthermore, sending robots to the moon and exploring the oceans are not mutually exclusive. There's nothing preventing people from doing both.

Re:Could someone please explain (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791989)

Other than the fact that it is far easier to keep stuff in than keeping stuff out.

Re:Could someone please explain (1)

laron (102608) | more than 4 years ago | (#28793417)

It might be interesting to see how the hardware that was left behind aged. Do those instruments still work or how badly did they suffer from radiation and extreme temperatures?

I'm sick of the lies and the crap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28790985)

When I see stuff like this it just boils my blood--WHO GIVES A CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up, people! Our government/military/defense industry complex have anti-gravity tech. They have free-energy tech. They have been interacting with non-human humanoids. They have all the know-how and means to create civilizations we have seen in movies like Star Wars and games like Eve Online. Those are the kind of projects that should be on our minds and that should be getting our attention! Not this tinker toy CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Re:I'm sick of the lies and the crap (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791523)

I'm only saying this because I care. There are many decaffeinated brands on the market that are just as tasty as the real thing.

Re:I'm sick of the lies and the crap (2, Funny)

Mogster (459037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791887)

Sir, if you would just look this way for a minute...

**flashythingy**

Now aliens do not exist. We do not, and never have had anti-gravity or free energy tech. Now go sell all your possessions and join a missionary group in inner Papua New Guinea. Have a nice life.

Moonquakes (5, Interesting)

jofer (946112) | more than 4 years ago | (#28790999)

While they're at it, it would be awesome to deploy a few more seismometers...

Moonquakes [nasa.gov] are pretty damn cool from a seismological perspective. Beyond that, some of the ones recorded by Apollo-installed seismometers were >Mw 5. Big enough to be damaging.

The moon isn't tectonically active, of course, but it is seismically active, and the data recorded in the 70's indicates that the moon's lithosphere is a very different beast compared to earth's. At any rate, it would produce some extremely neat data!

Re:Moonquakes (2, Interesting)

Poobar (1558627) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792921)

Check out Moonlite [bnsc.gov.uk], a (hopefully) upcoming British mission to do just that.

Good for science, good for the comedy value of saying "penetrator" and giggling a lot.

Rocket Blast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791047)

Wouldn't the first footprints have been destroyed when the LM took off?

Re:Rocket Blast (2, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791327)

Well, not all of them, and the truth is we don't actually know what the landing sight looks like with very close resolution. Didn't you see the photo of the footpath? Some of the footprints from Apollo 11 remain, certainly. Such details of the LEM pad site are a matter of speculation.

oblig capricorn one quotes (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791051)

Dr. James Kelloway: You think it's all a couple of looney scientists, it's not! It's bigger. There are people out there, *forces* out there, who have a lot to lose. They're grown ups. It's gotten too big, it's in the hands of grown ups!

Charles Brubaker: [dividing up the first aid kit] John, you take the flint. Peter and I will split up the matches. Anybody want the gun?
Lt. Col Peter Willis: I'd shoot my foot.
Cmdr. John Walker: I'd shoot his foot.

then there is of course, my favorite: so thereâ(TM)s this guy, see, who takes a trip to see the sights, you know, he has a real good time, anyway, he decides to call his brother, see, and, well, he asks his brother, howâ(TM)s everything at home, and his brother says, the cat died, and the guy says, you shouldnâ(TM)t tell me bad news like that, you know, not like that, you should tell me something like, well, something like the cat crawled out on the roof chasing some mice, and we had to call the fire department, and when the firemen went up to get the cat, well, the cat slipped and fell to the ground, see, and we had to take the cat to the vet, and they were going to operate on the cat, you know, but it was too late, they couldnâ(TM)t save the cat, thatâ(TM)s how you should break bad news, like that, see, so the guy says to his brother, howâ(TM)s mom, and the brother says sheâ(TM)s on the roof

what a great movie...

Re:oblig capricorn one quotes (1)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791061)

damn... didn't notice the commas didn't copy right. You would think that stuff wouldn't be a problem anymore.. I mean we can do so much with technology.... I mean, we can put a man on the moo..... oh... wait...

Re:oblig capricorn one quotes (0, Troll)

superdana (1211758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791281)

The day Slashdot finally figures out character encodings is... well, at this rate, probably never.

2 Motors? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791053)

Why two motors in each wheel hub?
The only reason I can think of is that 1 small motor @ 100% is more efficient than 1 large motor @ 50%... or is that incorrect?

Re:2 Motors? (2, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791161)

Possibly just rednendency. The Mars rovers have shown us that a little design redundency and simple, good engineering can go a really, really long way. It sounds like this moon rover is hoping to follow in their metaphorical footsteps. This seems an excellent approach (one that we should take more often) and I wish it the best of luck!

Re:2 Motors? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791639)

It might be something like the stabilization motors in a Segway. You have one set of motors acting to control the position of the chassis, and one set of motors powering the wheels. This could allow the robot to climb stairs, by spinning the motors in opposite directions. Or simply allow the robot to move on two wheels like a Segway (though that probably doesn't have any applications.)

WHY? (2, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791233)

First off, it's bullshit. They may develop the thing, but it's not going to fly itself. The Google X-Prize money is for the development, not the flying, and it's not enough to get it there anyway.

They WANT to have it explore the moon (actually they want to be seen wanting to do so, in order to increase their chances of getting the prize money; you think the timing of the announcement was random?). There's nothing here about anyone else wanting them to.

And given their announced target, I think they've just pointed the space demodulator at their foot. Far too many people would be offended.

All in all, this is a PR job. The guy may be capable of developing, but the chances are that having teamed up with this company, their plans are to get the prize money, maybe develop, maybe not, and know for certain ahead of time it'll never leave the ground. They just want the money. The tip off? Such a device could do valuable research, such as roving around the south pole looking for ice. Are they planning any useful or noble venture like that? No. They're planning on some virtual tourism, and true to big ticket money tourist ideals think that they're permitted to walk on anyone's lawn they wish just so they can take their holiday photos.

Fuck 'em. If you think they're hosebags for wanting to trundle all over what may be the most historic of historic sites, complain to the Google Lunar X-Prize people http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/contact-us [googlelunarxprize.org] and tell them not to support this project.

Re:WHY? (2, Interesting)

The_Duck271 (1494641) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791561)

the chances are that having teamed up with this company, their plans are to get the prize money, maybe develop, maybe not, and know for certain ahead of time it'll never leave the ground. They just want the money.

What? There's no prize money until you land on the Moon. From the prize website [googlelunarxprize.org]: "The first team to land on the Moon and complete the mission objectives will be awarded $20 million."

I heard Red Whittaker, the team leader, speak last summer; he said he does expect to make money off the project. Not from the prize, as the costs are several times the prize money, but from all the money that can be generated from the publicity of the landing. He wouldn't be doing the project if it was going to lose money; he's not in it for the science or the benefit to humanity. So yes, it is in large part a PR thing. But they definitely plan to launch; they've bought a launch rocket from NASA for several million dollars. Personally, I'm all for it; I think the lander is unlikely to mess up the Apollo site more than the launch rockers of the return stage already have, and it's perhaps the only site that will generate a bunch of public interest. As someone who wasn't alive during Apollo, I'm excited to see the video.

Re:WHY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28792929)

First off, youÂve got your facts wrong and your claims are nonsensical . Red Whitaker did not just join Astrobiotic, he founded it the day after the prize was announced in September 2007. The prize money is for landing on the Moon and a bonus prize for performing certains things, one of which is filming any man-made objects on the moon in HD live television. No one gets a penny of prize money without actually landing on the moon. So your claim that Astrobiotic can somehow win the Google Lunar X-Prize without doing that is complete bullshit. In short, you ranted without knowing a thing about the GLXP or Astrobiotic or Red Whitaker.

Why visit old relics? (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791279)

Why bother visiting old relics? Surely there are more interesting landing sites on the dark side, or the poles, of the moon that warrant more exploration than 40-year-old non-rusting relics.

Re:Why visit old relics? (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791349)

But thats the thing, we need to see if they were non-rusting or not. Sure, we can know that they aren't rusted but 40 years of moonquakes, micro-meteoroids and just general disuse is going to make it a valuable insight into a future plan of colonizing the moon.

I'll support this if... (2, Interesting)

techoi (1435019) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791401)

I can fully get behind this if: 1) the robot proves all "the moon landing was a hoax" a-holes wrong once and for all, and... 2) we build another robot to finish the ass kicking that Buzz Aldrin started on that fuckwad Bart Sibrel.

Re:I'll support this if... (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791819)

You will NEVER convince the hoax believers short of taking each and every one of them there. It'd be more economical to round them all up and shoot them, if what you desired was unanimous agreement of the moon landings. I asked a hoax believer the other day if he'd ever been to Iceland. He hadn't. I followed that he must surely disbelieve in Iceland as well, given he's seen no stronger evidence of it than the moon landings.

Don't be upset. (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791405)

The project heads know that Google is only looking to expand their street view to the moon. Don't blame them there is only one dirt trail to visit!

Progress (1)

Usually Unlucky (1598523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791501)

I have been keeping track of this team for at least a year now. It is a local team and a favorite in the Google lunar x prize. But honestly they have had almost no major advances since last summer. Also in the economic downturn they have not found any real sponsors. AND they still do not have any launch provider willing to take their rover. I think they are waiting for a Space X charity launch. It most likely wont happen before the 2014 deadline

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791837)

I know a few of the people who worked on it and saw it around campus. It'd be a miracle if that thing ever hits the moon.

Better use of technology (1)

nil_orally (1574491) | more than 4 years ago | (#28791705)

What they should really be doing is finding a competitive team to have Robot Wars with on the Moon.

Reminds me... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28791737)

...of that episode of Futurama where Fry goes to the moon and finds the original moon landing site, which had been lost for centuries. He proceeds to compare his boot to Neil Armstrongs, and marvels at the sight of "that flag from MTV".

Inside the lander theres something that reads "This lader returned to its original site by the historical sticklers society" or something.

I dunno, mod me +1 Rambling.

One word: regolith (1)

slew (2918) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792099)

Not a chance for something solar panel getting enough power over a long period of time on the moon.
The moon dust (regolith) sticks to everything electrostatically and it's so fine that brushing it off is damn near impossible.

Optimistically, they write...

There's just one problem left to figure out: how to protect the rover from minus 240 F lunar nights. The team is experimenting with different ways to package lithium ion batteries to be able to function after two weeks of exposure to air that is nearly as cold as liquid nitrogen..

Yeah, that moon air might be a problem... do they know what are they talking about?

A solar panel on a moon rover will get covered with regolith in short order and that's all she wrote...

Re:One word: regolith (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792281)

It depends on how tall their rover is. If its panels are high enough off the ground, they would avoid the electrostatic problem. Of course, I can't find any reference to how tall that would need to be.

I agree with the 'air' comment. They don't have to worry about *air* at -240F, they have to worry about plain vacuum radiation.

But even that has been solved, just ask anyone who has designed a satellite with sensitive electronics. After all, nearly all satellites spend 50% of their time in the shade.

Re:One word: regolith (1)

karstux (681641) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792355)

I'm not sure about this. Kicked up lunar dust particles move in parabolic trajectories. Since there's no atmosphere, they won't stay afloat and disperse. So, if you know which way the wheels will kick up dust, you can strategically place the solar panels where they won't get dusty. They'll stay clean forever...

That bit about the batteries is really ridiculous. A thin aluminum foil will protect the batteries from thermal radiation just fine. Apart from that, there's no "temperature" on the moon...

This sounds a lot like Monty Python. (1)

k.a.f. (168896) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792141)

"Now, the purpose of this year's expedition is to see if we can find any traces of the last one."

*the* Apollo landing site? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792259)

What's with the summary's "the" Apollo landing site? Last time I checked, there were 6 landing sites. (Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17.)

The tapes (1)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792627)

Maybe they can see if the missing tapes are there. Apparently they've searched all over earth and they're not here. So they must have been left behind....

Other Apollo sites, First Footprint City (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 4 years ago | (#28792895)

I agree with the other posters, this should be preserved. Or at least the 1st one.

Anybody else remember "First Footprint City" from the BBC SciFi series Earth Search?

If there is a real compelling scientific justification to see how the materials have survived then designate one of the other landing sites that is deemed less important and send the robot there. After all several Apollo missions went to the moon.

Sending one for Apollo 11 sounds more like a badly thought out publicity exercise then anything else.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...