Sunday, December 8, 2013

GLXP: 'Back to the Moon for good'

Back to the Moon for Good
The UK National Space Centre has produced a full-scale planetarium show designed to increase student interest in math and the sciences by highlighting the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, their methods and long-term goals on the Moon, while engaging in the sometimes fierce competition to become the first 'non-state' stakeholders on the Moon [GLXP].
Erin Biba

While so much space science and exploration attention has been focused on Mars in the last few years, Google wants to remind us that the moon is about to get awfully popular. Teams competing in their Lunar X PRIZE will send more than 20 rovers and spacecraft to our rocky satellite in the near future. Hoping to get us excited about all that impending traffic (and get kids and teens excited about engineering), the X PRIZE folks have put together a planetarium show that they're giving away free to science domes around the world.

Back To The Moon For Good, produced by the UK National Space Centre and narrated by Tim Allen, is a 24-minute look at the past, present, and possible future of humans on the moon. It starts with a look at the Apollo missions, and a reminder that while it was easy to assume at the time that humans would go back right away, nobody has set foot on the lunar surface in forty years. So much time has passed, Allen says, that some people even think the moon landing never even happened.

The film goes on to highlight some of the moon research that has happened over the years and outlines the myriad problems that need to be overcome in order to land a craft on the lunar surface. It highlights some of the more economical, space saving, and technical designs created by Google's X PRIZE teams with interviews with team leaders from Barcelona, Israel, Chile, and Penn State (who, in a truly American fashion, declare themselves guaranteed winners).

In the end, the film imagines a future in which the moon is a jumping off point for future space exploration and a hub for space business. Monetization, after all, is one of Google's biggest reasons for attempting to galvanize a new private space race. According to Lunar X PRIZE senior director Alexandra Hall: "We want to push the sphere of commercial influence out. Google are funding the prize to engage and inspire a generation to get excited about what private individuals can do. But they also want to explore incentivizing more democratized access to space. They have a goal of stimulating a new space economy."

Read the full article, HERE.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Does Erin Biba think the present residents of the Moon are just going to have no say in who uses the moon for jumping off to other places?