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Google says "To the MOON!" Answered

Time to go to the moon. Google is sponsoring an X Prize, get a lander to the moon. Besides requirements like a soft landing and traveling on the surface, there's a time limit. The full prize, $20 million, is only good to December 31 2012, then it drops to 15 and goes away by 2014.

So, is the Instructables crew working on this or not? Hey, the people here are pros at making great things on the cheap, they should be able to get that prize and some profit from it. Why not, it worked on Salvage 1 (and who else here will admit how inspiring that was).


I say just drop a bumble ball on the moon and take the prize.

any sponsors? ;)


10 years ago

I just looked again at the article. It looks really cool but all of the teams are basically from universities. I'd be interested to see an Instructables team just to see how far it could get.

Well, it all depends on what techniques we use, and with such a diverse group we're more able to "think outside the box." Traditionally you'd use a massive rocket to get to space. But that's a lot of air to get thru, lots of friction. And most of the fuel a rocket carries is for carrying most of the fuel up that high. So, we use balloons, carry our rocket on it's launch base up to the limits of the atmosphere. That'll yield enormous savings on the weight and complexity of the rocket: decrease the amount of fuel needed, less concern over aerodynamics since we'll be starting in very thin air, less of the shielding and hardening of the rocket needed since there will be less friction and buffeting and things getting ripped off (like with the shuttle) let alone the decreased vibrational stresses without the gigantic rocket motors. So we get up there, the gyroscopes will control the launch base motors that will orient the rocket and keep it in position (like a Segway holds position), then we launch. Okay, who wants to take the narrative from there? Any particular type of rocket you want? Treat it like a projectile and do the initial launching with a railgun then the rocket fires, or have the rocket do the initial work and then a railgun fires the package off for the last stage? Anyone?

Those are some really good ideas. I don't really know much about aerodynamics and rocketry, I would probably be more of a help with the actual lander. Why don't we open up a forum and an unpublished Instructable, sort of the way they did with Goodhart. We could have a bigger discussion where we exchange more detailed plans. What do you think? Should I make an unpublished Instructable?

that would be great, but the instructables crew is really spread out, it would be hard to pull off. but anything is possible i guess.


10 years ago

Haha, that'd be really cool. We could do a thing where we have a contest for each part of the lander. But like Goodhart said, the cash would be hard to come by.

Well I for one would be optimistic about this challenge for instructables, for a start, we can test our electronics...

There are many very capable members when it comes to transmission and control... (Space wifi?)

Once out there power isn't much of an issue as our solar projects are very effective...

Now powering such a machine becomes a problem, at even a commercial level powering rockets is hard work... However something could be arranged.

Now there are problems such as how in the hell do we control it and track it's movements...

I think 'ibles as a community has about half the tech needed for such a thing, we could build our own moon rover, granted it'd look like an electric bike

You know that space Wifi idea is not a bad idea, there have been several cubes and amateur radio satellites put up in space... And you used to be able to listen to AO-10 and AO-40 with a 802.11 network adapter and a large (( 1.2 meter area )) reflector ......

I suspect that the protocol is robust enough, since the air is less dirty in terms of noise you could boost the power by a few times and use sensitive equipment, also the best way to control a roer idea could be to have complete radio control and video protocol, simple webcam based idea, make a rolling computer of sorts, let it charge about and have a deliberate delay of as many seconds delay there is in video, that way it would emulate realtime in terms of synching movement and video...

Hmm, plans might be made, but the pocket change to pull this one off may be hard to come by :-)

Hmm... Back in 7th grade I drew up plans for a coffee can rocket with a built in, detachable Altoid tin satellite....

Now where did I put it?