Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Sunday, Apr 10, 2011
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version
Google



Front Page

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary |

Front Page Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Indian team in lunar rover competition

N. Gopal Raj

Thiruvananthapuram: Will a bunch of space novices be able to land and operate a rover on the Moon? That is the challenge facing the only team from India competing for the Google Lunar X Prize.

In September 2007, the search giant Google joined hands with the X Prize Foundation to create a $30 million prize purse. The competition is intended to “challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration,” said a declaration issued at the time.

Moon 2.0 will not be a government-sponsored quest for ‘flags and footprints.' Instead, the winning team will need to land a privately funded spacecraft on the Moon and then have a rover travel at least 500 metres on the lunar surface, sending back video, images and data.

Four months after the prize was announced, 10 teams had thrown their hats into the ring. This February, the X Prize Foundation announced that nearly 30 teams from 17 nations on four continents had registered for the competition.

The Indian entry, Team Indus, was going to try to keep its effort simple and low cost, according to its leader, Rahul Narayan, a Delhi-based IT professional.

The team has just 10 members from a variety of backgrounds. Despite their lack of space experience, the team plans to put two small rovers, which together would only weigh around 15 kg, on the Moon.

A blog post from the team explained that one rover was intended to meet the basic compliance requirements for the prize. The other rover could try for some of the bonus prizes, such as for survival and range.

Mr. Narayan told The Hindu that a spacecraft would transport a lander along with the two rovers from the earth to orbit around the Moon. The lander would then complete the last leg of the journey, taking the rovers down to the lunar surface.

The journey will start with a launch abroad a commercial rocket. Hopefully, the launch could be carried out on an Indian rocket, he said. The team was aiming at being ready to fly in three to three-and-a-half years.

He emphasised that their short-lived and simple mission could in no way be compared to the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-2 mission that seeks to put a rover on the Moon by 2013. Indeed, the key challenge for the team right now was to be taken seriously. The team intends to launch its web site http://www.teamindus.in/ on April 12.

Printer friendly page  
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail



Front Page

News: ePaper | Front Page | National | Tamil Nadu | Andhra Pradesh | Karnataka | Kerala | New Delhi | Other States | International | Business | Sport | Miscellaneous | Engagements |
Advts:
Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary | Updates: Breaking News |

Chandraayan I


News Update



The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | The Hindu ePaper | Business Line | Business Line ePaper | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Ergo | Home |

Copyright 2011, The Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of The Hindu