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Moon Mining Race Under Way

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the a-lot-of-cheese dept.

Google 150

New submitter rujholla writes "The race to the moon is back! This time, though, it's through private enterprise. Google has offered a $20m grand prize to the first privately-funded company to land a robot on the moon and explore the surface (video) by moving at least 500 meters and sending high definition video back to Earth by 2015."

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It's the bonus that concerns me (4, Insightful)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year and a half ago | (#43113923)

A second-placed team stands to win $5m for completing the same mission, with bonus prizes for travelling more than 5km, finding water and discovering any traces of man's past on the moon, such as the Apollo site.

Wouldn't it be best to leave the Apollo landing site - even the footprints - alone for posterity?

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

Barryke (772876) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114001)

Apparently Google wants to obligate the future Apollo site museum on the moon to reference them to explain the tracks that lead to a ducttape lego + webcam apparatus.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114019)

Why leave it alone?
Protect the first foot prints and the first landing site as a historical thing yes, but why leave it alone?

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114617)

OP here. I'm afraid the distinction between leaving the site - or sites - alone and protecting them as historical monuments is lost on me. What struck me when I first read this story was that we have an unprecedented opportunity because, meteors aside, the Apollo site should look exactly the same as it does now in thousands of years without the need for preservation efforts. There's more than enough Moon up there to leave even the smallest bootprint from the Apollo landing untouched.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

rioki (1328185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114905)

Except that once space travel becomes feasible for more people, people will want to see the site. Best is I think it to build a visitor center / museum around it and shield that actual site, which is just a few hundred square feet.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115453)

There are too many historical monuments on Earth as it is. Let's not spoil the Moon as well with conservation mania.
Instead of preserving the past in aspic let's look to the future for a change.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (3, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114045)

Well, they don't have to roll over and obliterate them, do they?

Would be nice to see some of those artifacts filmed in modern high-definition colour. Especially ones never seen before.

Also, why do we need to 'discover' these sites - don't we already know where they are?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artificial_objects_on_the_Moon [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114393)

Well, they don't have to roll over and obliterate them, do they?

Would be nice to see some of those artifacts filmed in modern high-definition colour.

I wonder if it would shut up the moon hoax idiots.

Nah.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (4, Funny)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114481)

My favorite scenario is we take all the leading moon landing hoax people to the apollo landing sites and ask them to remove their helmets.

That will shut them up.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114647)

Better yet, half-way to the Moon we should tell them all "YOU WERE RIGHT" and then blast them into open space.
At least they'll die happy.

(disclaimer for the obtuse, it was a joke, I wish no one harm)

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115007)

(disclaimer for the obtuse, it was a joke, I wish no one harm)

I do.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

amoeba1911 (978485) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114653)

Remove helmet? Just send them to the moon without helmets. According to them it's just a studio in Arizona, they don't need helmets there.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114053)

You sentimental little bastard. Don't you know that is where the unobtanium is buried?

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

Tx (96709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114055)

Why not preserve the whole moon for posterity, after all it's the site of mankind's first off-Earth planetary landing? Off course that's a bit of reductio ad absurdum, but arguably no one will actually be any the worse off in any quantifiable way in the future for being able to say "this is the Apollo landing site" versus "this is the Apollo landing site with some untouched footprints". History is about knowing what happened, and while pristine preserved artefacts can help tell the story, they're not the be all and end all of it, and you can't preserve everything.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114259)

Surely the first footprints would have been obliterated by the launch-blast of the astronauts' return journey..?

I guess there might be some intact ones further away from the launch site.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

black3d (1648913) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114293)

Only those where the the prints were being directly blasted by burning fuel. No atmosphere so no billowing clouds of dust or anything. Any particles blasted up by the rocket would be dispersed in a fairly even wide radius.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114101)

Yes, it certainly would. It's one of the Moons 1 wonders. But don't worry, there will be no corporate rover to do the damage, at least not before 2015.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114425)

Wouldn't it be best to leave the Apollo landing site - even the footprints - alone for posterity?

"Site"?

Did you know there's more than one?

Maybe they could leave Apollo 11 alone but Apollos 15-17? Can you even name the pilots...?

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114607)

Im not sure the footprints will be visible after all this time. The site itself should be left alone, but landing nearby and getting close enough to capture some video would (in my opinion) revive public interest in space.

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115775)

Im not sure the footprints will be visible after all this time.

Umm ... do you think the moon rain washed them away? Or was it the wind?

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (4, Informative)

SpzToid (869795) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114797)

The U.S. has already formally requested folks stay at least 75 meters (246 ft) from the site.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/science/space/a-push-for-historic-preservation-on-the-moon.html [nytimes.com]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tranquility_Base [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115411)

The original NASA policy document is worth looking at, especially as it collects together a lot of interesting photos: http://go.nasa.gov/JDYo9v [nasa.gov] (links to PDF)

It is linked from the relevant X Prize press release: http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/media/press-releases/nasa-offers-guidelines-protect-historic-sites-moon [googlelunarxprize.org]

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43115623)

Are they allowed to 'fly' over the sites, using thrusters, so they can get close up footage of the landers, etc?

Who is going to stop them once they're up there anyway?

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (2)

Psychophrenes (1600027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114877)

New achievement: Travelled 5km on the Moon
New achievement: Desecrated a historical site

Re:It's the bonus that concerns me (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115073)

Is it just me or wouldn't the striking, starkly-defined, austere beauty of the lunar landscape look a whole lot more attractive without that shit just sitting there? (Footprints... isn't that what rakes are for?) :p

Mining for video data (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43113957)

Retrieving video data does not count as "mining".

Re:Mining for video data (2)

progician (2451300) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114289)

Data mining?

Men on the Moon (1)

ixarux (1652631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43113959)

They'll have to battle the five-foot-high Selenites before they get to do so...

Seems easy (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year and a half ago | (#43113973)

I must see too much SF because this seems intuitively too easy.

500m and HD video is an hdpro in a transparent sphere with springs. The landing itself will make it move more than 500m.

I rationally know that sending a 300g mass to the moon isn't trivial, but it does look easy.

Now that I think on it, GoPro (the company) should try shooting a couple thousand of their cameras to the moon just for PR reasons.

Re:Seems easy (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about a year and a half ago | (#43113987)

You don't think the spec of a $20 million contract will be specific about just what that 500m of movement means?

Re:Seems easy (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43113991)

Sorry to dump on the above poster, but I think this is a sign that we are not teaching enough mathematics in schools. A twelve year old in the 1970s living just about anywhere on the planet would not make the same assumptions and not embarrass themselves with such a stupid bit of magical thinking.

For any who are too dim to work it out (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114007)

Anything that requires a rocket program costing a billion or so and hundreds of people is not "easy". It may be easier to piggyback from others, use their stuff and launch facilities and get that rocket program down in price, but it's still not going to be "easy" to get anything to escape velocity unless you ask somebody else to do all of the hard bits.

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114067)

Anything that requires a rocket program costing a billion or so and hundreds of people is not "easy".

Placing a satellite into orbit costs between 20 and 300 million.
The specific cost depends on how much stuff you need to hit the moon from orbit without obliterating the vital components.

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114141)

Placing a satellite into orbit costs between 20 and 300 million

Only if you've got the infrastructure - that is the "hard bit" referred to in the bit you didn't read :(

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114253)

Anything that requires a rocket program costing a billion or so and hundreds of people is not "easy".

How about something that requires infrastructure that is in the trillions of dollars and requires millions of people to maintain? Is driving to the supermarket similarly hard?

Building the infrastructure can be astoundingly hard. Using existing infrastructure need not be.

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114825)

Please demonstrate this existing infrastructure at the same scale for space? Yeah, didn't think so.

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115085)

I just was disagreeing with the assertion that something is hard merely because it uses infrastructure that was hard to build. One doesn't need infrastructure at the scale of Earth's road systems in order to use it.

What makes the lunar prize hard in this context is that the infrastructure doesn't support the full trip. Rockets get you into space (for a price) and then you need to get from there to the Moon.

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (0)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115111)

I know you cannot possibly be as stupid as you pretend so please stop playing this silly trolling game.

Re:For any who are too dim to work it out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43115435)

khallow is one of those ultra Space Nutters. He isn't kidding or trolling, he's 100% sincere. He's just off his rocker, that's all.

Re:Seems easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114021)

Go on..?

Re:Seems easy (1)

sidevans (66118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114073)

I'm a 1980's kid with only year 9 Australian Education, and I think GoPro's would be a cheap alternative if they work in a vacuum.

I think we need a quad-rotor drone with a giant balloon and hydrogen generators, it takes a balloon trip with quad-rotor power most of the way up and uses solar power to harvest hydrogen from the atmosphere, then once the balloon is useless it dumps it and burns hydrogen rockets (with the hydrogen it gathered on the way up) to escape Earth's gravitational pull. Set course for the moon, gather data, then head back to earth using boosters to slow down before re-entering the atmosphere then quad-rotor power to make a safe landing somewhere back on earth.

Repeat process to gather more data... The only things that would need to be replaced are hydrogen generators because (from my knowledge) most metal decays when producing hydrogen and generating electricity from it. Also, the Moon doesn't interest me much, the Kuiper belt on the other hand does, but I'm glad Google are aiming for something I see as possible these days.

Re:Seems easy (0)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114299)

I think we need a quad-rotor drone with a giant balloon and hydrogen generators, it takes a balloon trip with quad-rotor power most of the way up and uses solar power to harvest hydrogen from the atmosphere, then once the balloon is useless it dumps it and burns hydrogen rockets (with the hydrogen it gathered on the way up) to escape Earth's gravitational pull. Set course for the moon, gather data, then head back to earth using boosters to slow down before re-entering the atmosphere then quad-rotor power to make a safe landing somewhere back on earth.

Surely the simplest way is simply to build an indefinitely extendable ladder? You start with 10 feet then simply keep passing up new 10 feet sections, until pretty soon you're at 100 feet, then 1,000 and so on, until eventually you're on the moon.

I can't believe no-one's thought of this before. So-called scientists just like to make things complicated to seem clever and get government grants.

Re:Seems easy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114539)

I had the same idea, but with turtles.

Re:Seems easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114663)

Turtles won't work. Oh they don't mind being stacked up or even having elephants standing on them but they don't care to be climbed on by apes, hairless or not.

Re:Seems easy (1)

sidevans (66118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115729)

what about monkeys? they have pretty tough forearms and can just hold each other up

Re:Seems easy (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114661)

Your idea is stupid. They should send domeone on the Moon and then the guys on the Moon would DROP the ladder FROM there, taking advantage of Earth's gravitational pull. No need for all the climbing anymore.

Damn it, I'm a genius. Where's my Nobel Prize?

Re:Seems easy (1)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115055)

Well that's just dumb. Everyone knows that after the first 2 ladders you just pull the one off the bottom and put it on top! Yet another example of government overspending!

Re:Seems easy (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114363)

The problem with electronics in space isn't the vacuum, but rather radiation of all sorts, including solar flares and cosmic radiation. You also have extreme temperatures that you need to work with that come from the environment, and then since it is going to the Moon you may need to deal with what happens when you go through a lunar night. By extreme temperatures, I'm talking temperatures far hotter and colder than any place found on the Earth. Hotter than the Sahara in the Summer at Noon and colder than the coldest part of Antarctica. Electronics tend not to work very well in that kind of environment.

That is sort of what makes building spacecraft electronics sort of expensive. Consumer electronics typically can't survive that sort of punishment.

I should also point out that there isn't a single team in this competition that is even looking at building their own rockets, except for figuring out how to land on the Moon. Even landing on the Moon is likely going to be done with existing companies that have already developed that technology. There are companies who have even done that already so they have a clue how to accomplish that task for others.

I'm not saying that you can't come up with something original, but rocket science is hard..... that is why "rocket scientists" (or aerospace engineers) are usually considered pretty smart people.

Re:Seems easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114471)

Just going very high and spewing fire from your vehicle is not enough to get you into space.

Do you realise how fast something has to be going to reach earth orbit? It's about 18000 miles per hour. That's the bare minimum. You need another 7000 miles per hour on top of that to reach the moon.

It's not enough to say you will need some hydrogen. You need A LOT of hydrogen, seriously a hell of a lot, and oxygen, and an efficient rocket engine, and fuel pumps, and tanks to hold it all...

How much do you want to bet that you can make a quadrotor able to lift 50 tonnes of moon rocket?

Re:Seems easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114841)

With a 3D printer, DUHHHH!!! It's the FUTURE after all! Just load your model into Sketchup, and scale it WAY UP! You're just a Luddite if you can't see that.

Re:Seems easy (1)

denvergeek (1184943) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115137)

Kickstarter --> 3D Printing --> ??? --> Success!

Re:Seems easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114595)

I'm a 1980's kid with only year 9 Australian Education,

Apparently you spent all nine years repeating Year 1. Turtles all the way down is only slightly less plausible.

Unless you just forgot to mention the major weight:lift improvements you developed that enable a hydrogen harvester and compression system and a rocket to be carried aloft by your "quad-rotor drone".

There's a lot wrong with the Australian educations system - but that's the cause of your delusions, unless of course, you went to one of those private (government funded) Christian Schools.

Re:Seems easy (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114281)

If it's that fucking easy, why not just do it this weekend and claim your $20m from Google so you can retire comfortably well off on Monday?

Re:Seems easy (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114291)

The lander part is cheap. Getting it there is not.

Re:Seems easy (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114615)

Landers for the moon are not what I'd call cheap. But for a tiny GoPro, it might be feasible. Packing it into a CubeSat format could make it fairly cheap to launch as well. If the GoPro can withstand a "not-so-soft" landing, it could greatly simplify the design of the lander. Perhaps a spring-loaded "hopping" mechanism could travel 500m in lunar gravity. It still wouldn't be "cheap" by most people's standards, but could well be within reach of a corporate marketing budget.

Re:Seems easy (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114687)

Please go look up how a spring would perform in vacuum and at temperatures approaching absolute zero.

" The stiffness tensor is a property of the material, and often depends on physical state variables such as temperature, pressure, and microstructure."

Re:Seems easy (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114967)

A "spring" doesn't have to be made of steel. The same function could be served with a gas/piston mechanism, a plastic spring, etc.. You're talking about a minor engineering challenge, not a show-stopper.

Re:Seems easy (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114959)

Space isn't just a matter of 'up.' Cubesats generally go in LEO. The further you go, the more delta-V you need to get there, which means bigger vehicle to carry more fuel, and bigger rockets to get the fuel up.

And you call it "mining"? (4, Insightful)

aglider (2435074) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114077)

to land a robot on the moon and explore the surface by moving at least 500 meters and send high definition video back to Earth by 2015

I would call it simply "sending a robot that moves on the moon".
This "minig race" sounds more like a financial buzzword more than real technology breakthrough.

Re:And you call it "mining"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114119)

They're trying to 'mine' the prize money from google!

I guess it is one way of duping some investors out of some money.

Re:And you call it "mining"? (5, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114313)

This was just a silly reporter from the BBC that was somehow impressed with the idea but otherwise clueless about the whole thing. If you want to read something much more authoritative on the topic, read this:

http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/ [googlelunarxprize.org]

The goal here is to make a low-cost vehicle that can do surface exploration of the Moon. Mining isn't even really a goal, although the technology to get it done would ultimately be useful to engage in mining activities eventually. It is not a sample return mission through.

Re:And you call it "mining"? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114933)

Mining isn't a goal of the GLXP, but it is a goal of Moon Express. They are using the GLXP as a "bootstrap" to develop the lander technology. Once the capability is demonstrated, they intend to use it for further exploration. They also intend to sell "rides" to the moon for others.

Re:And you call it "mining"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43115503)

It's mining photons and sticking them to video to be transported back to Earth where they can be used by your eyes.

How can that not be considered "mining"? ;)

Doesn't seem realistic (3, Interesting)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114079)

The Surveyor program cost about $500m. A mere $20m prize won't make this profitable. Also, 2015 is far too close for a program like this, I don't think Google wants to pay that money.

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114133)

If the moon has R64s it would be worth any loss to take it and begin mining, but it may take a whole fleet of spaceships to accomplish this.

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114225)

yeah, but then again, we'd have to be _incredibly_ lucky to find an unclaimed r64 in our home system ... and then we'd immediately find out how incredibly _unlucky_ we are to find we're living in null.

On the other hand, there are at least a few thousand of us who know how to handle the politics (provided that they're not all too busy shooting each other, that is).

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114279)

What are R64 [wikipedia.org] s?
Ah, sorry, google tells me it's something about the rarity of the material, with R64 being the rarest. Thanks google!

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114429)

R64 (moons*) are from Eve Online (Rarity [4*], 8, 16, 32, 64) -- each rarity level being progressively more difficult to find as the number increases... I don't know the progression, as I don't think it's been published (or at least, I couldn't find it with a few quick google searches), though estimates hold Tech moons around 400.

Assuming linear progression of each step halving the number of moons, and Tech being a representative example of R32 Moon density, that gives a count of about 200 of each type of R64 moon, spread across ~3500 systems, with varying numbers of moons (from 0 to ~100 ... I think 102 or 104 is the highest). So, at an average of 50 moons/system, you have a 0.1% chance any one moon in a system would be R64.

*well, actually, it's the material's rarity, but you can R4 and R64 materials on the same moon ... and it'd still be considered a R64 moon.

**R4 moons are everywhere, and generally not counted when talking about moon materials.

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114183)

The idea of offering a $20m prize isn't that it will completely cover the cost of doing it but that it will change the balance of risk and reward enough. Producing a cost effective way of putting a vehicle on the moon will be worth money in sponsorship, IP rights and sales of technology, and the future business opportunities that come from being able to do it.

Is $20m enough? I don't know as it isn't something I know enough about but it could make a considerable difference to a company that was considering doing it anyway.

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (1)

Teancum (67324) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114295)

Why do you think Google won't pay up on this offer? They certainly have that kind of money ($20 million) and this is also being offered through the X-Prize Foundation.... the same guys that did the "Ansari X-Prize" that paid a roughly similar amount for the first private reusable spacecraft capable of carrying passengers into space.... and that technology was purchased by Richard Branson to start Virgin Galactic.

2015 also isn't really too close for a program like this, as this concept and the prize itself has been going for several years now. I would agree that somebody starting from scratch right now won't be able to meet the goal, but there are several teams of people who are well on their way. I should note that the Google Lunar X-Prize group has stopped taking team applications, with interested parties being encouraged to help support existing efforts to claim the prize.

Most of the teams are hoping to get into space as secondary payloads on board spacecraft like the Falcon 9 and Atlas V. That will reduce the cost for going into space, but I'd agree that won't necessarily make it profitable.

Then again, in terms of making a profit by going into space, the point of the prize is to act as an incentive for people to do something like this, not to necessarily fund the whole thing. Think of the Olympics, where admittedly there is a sort of cash prize (or at least some precious metals being given to the winners), but most people spend far more than the value of that award in terms of training and development costs to win the prize. Other examples can be found. Being declared the "winner" and actually getting to the Moon would be a great way to demonstrate that your company or group has the technical skills necessary to do some impressive things in space. Again look at the example of Scaled Composites and the huge contracts they've landed after winning the original X-Prize competition. That more than paid off any development costs... as if that was even a concern in the first place.

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114589)

The contest (Google Lunar X Prize) has actually being underway since 2007... and nobody is particularly close.

Re:Doesn't seem realistic (1)

Extremus (1043274) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114739)

I don't think Google wants to pay that money.

This fact is evident! It is the first thing I thought when reading that they will give a bonus for finding water and the Apollo landing site, two things that clearly do not exist.

They're part of the way there... (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114083)

Bolt an Android 'phone...

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/03/07/1438237/android-in-space-strand-1-satellite-to-activate-nexus-one [slashdot.org]

To this..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Mindstorms_NXT_2.0 [wikipedia.org]

Then find large rocket...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_V [wikipedia.org]

Job done! I claim my 10% consulting fee!

More seriously, looks like the Indians are going to get there pretty soon, (2015), but this is not a private venture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2 [wikipedia.org]

LINK TO AUTOPLAY VIDEO (4, Insightful)

david.given (6740) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114227)

Please, please don't post links to these without at least warning people...

Re:LINK TO AUTOPLAY VIDEO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114431)

Flashblock

Re:LINK TO AUTOPLAY VIDEO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114521)

Be the master of the web, direct it instead of being directed by it. How you view content on your own machine is your choice.

Very old news (1)

Su27K (652607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114283)

The race started in 2010, so it's already been going for more than 2 years now, and it's not for companies, it's for privately funded teams. I do agree that the goal may be too high this time and probably none of the teams could complete it.

Old, old, old news (4, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114329)

The contest is called the Google Lunar X Prize [googlelunarxprize.org] - and was announced back in 2007.

Extremely old news (1)

DaKritter (158840) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114333)

This is the Google X-Prize they are talking about, right? The one that got everyone exited years ago?

Why, even BBC makes fake news these days to attract more views.

Earth Mass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114335)

I've always wondered, why does nobody seem to be concerned about increasing Earth's mass by bringing stuff in economically significant quantities here. Perhaps not quickly, but over a longer period of time. Would that not influence our orbit around the sun in some way?

Re:Earth Mass (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114657)

Not from the moon -- we orbit the sun as an Earth-moon system, so the net mass doesn't change.

Hundreds of tons of space dust hit the Earth every day, IIRC.

Asteroids miles in diameter wouldn't be noticeable, though scientists could probably detect it (soft landing). In any case, you would have to change the speed of the Earth to change its orbit. As the Earth is about 7 heptillion tons, that's a tall order for the forseeable future. All asteroids hitting Earth would kill us, but not much orbit-wise.

Finally, whatever hit the Earth knocking a chunk off to form the moon (it has no iron magnetic core, so they know it is surface material from something else and didn't form as a planet-like body on its own) probably didn't change the orbit much either.

this is stupid and malevolent (1)

etash (1907284) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114347)

Why on earth someone ( = a person, a team ) who COULD send a robot to land on the moon on 20m dollars budget would ever claim the google money ? The entity to achieve such a breakthrough cost reduction in space missions would simply patent the idea ( mostly the "rocket engine" ), form a company and sell the tech for 10-100x the profit.

Re:this is stupid and malevolent (1)

mortonda (5175) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114763)

... AND collect the google money. Or, if you don't care about $20 million, give it to me!

Gimme those 20M$ (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114387)

I just visited Hollywood studios and drove around my RC car with cam!

Up to Old Tricks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114403)

Is the old movie set from the Apollo landings still available?

for the horde! (1)

Sterculius (2856655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114435)

I'll kick in another $50 if the robot takes down the U.S. flag and replaces it with a World of Warcraft flag.

Do you even EVE online, bro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114445)

Yes, let's just allow corporations to set up mining operations in basically ungovernable space. -That's- gonna work out, for sure!
It'll be just like coca cola and their plants in south america and china way back in the day when no one cared, right?
ultra profitability and no accountability. Let's do that! YES!

Re:Do you even EVE online, bro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114863)

Uh, Moon mining is a completely and utterly unrealistic impractical geek fantasy. It'll never happen. Stop worrying.

Jeez (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114499)

Talk about a misleading heading... it's not a race for 'mining the moon'... it's a race in getting more companies to send more shit to the moon.

Have we not learned a valuable lesson? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114613)

In the recent documentary "Time Machine" narrated by the erudite Guy Pearce, it is expected that future mining operations on the moon will cause it to crack (due its to inert core) causing considerable devastation in our utopian future.

Whoever supports mining on the moon, condones an existence without a moon; please refer to http://www.infoniac.com/uimg/moon_crash.jpg [infoniac.com] .

Don't we need the moon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43114839)

What happens to Earth once the moon's mass is depleted to a pile of worthless rock with all valuable heavy components shipped back to Earth? What happens when the high tide is the same as low tide and the oceans become stagnant pools of water? This is about as great an idea as blowing up the moon with Nukes.

Off-earthing (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114881)

The only way a company's going to the moon to set up mining is if there's somebody there who will work for $3/hr.

And if they can find some moon Republicans to outlaw unions up there.

Science Fiction (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about a year and a half ago | (#43114953)

Do people understand how absurdly unfeasible this is and how this article is basically spouting science fiction? If you tried to mine the moon, the material you mined would cost its weight in diaminds. Transport to the moon remains extremely cost-prohibitive and no concievable technology I have ever heard of can change that.

If we are talking about mining objects in space, anyway, it is worth pointing out its probably better to mine an asteroid which is more likely to be rich in the metals.

Re:Science Fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43115589)

So you're all upset about people spouting science fiction and end your post in an even more absurd proposition. We can mine our own garbage piles, those are orders of magnitude closer, easier and richer in materials. Right here on Earth. We could just filter sea water and have all the elements we want. But that sounds practical and there are no rockets, so it won't get the geeks and Space Nutters going.

Quote to Remember (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115103)

"It's a rock, no indigenous life forms."

Re:Quote to Remember (1)

Westwood0720 (2688917) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115425)

Did IQs just suddenly drop while I was away?

Robot, schmobot! (1)

JeanCroix (99825) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115113)

I've already starting growing my army of Sam Rockwell clones!

Moon mining? (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about a year and a half ago | (#43115485)

Sounds more like Google wants to have Street View of the moon.

BULLSHIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43115685)

It's a bullshit prize.

First, it will take more money than that to just do it.

Second, that's not enough time for any group starting from scratch.

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