Feeds

Japan, Google head for the moon

Probing X-Prizes

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Everyone is going to the moon. Japan has launched its first lunar probe, Selene, and the X-Prize foundation has persuaded Google to put up a $30m fund to reward any private enterprise that manages to land a probe in lunar-land.

The Japanese space agency, JAXA, watched Selene blast off from Tanegashima, a remote southern island. The rocket carried the craft into Earth-orbit, where it will travel around our planet once before starting its 237,500 mile journey to the moon.

The Japanese craft finally hit the skies some four years after its original launch date. It will drop into lunar orbit before splitting into three parts: a main orbiter and two smaller satellites, which will gather data on lunar topography, geology and environment.

But to win the new X-Prize, a private business will have to go one better and actually land a rover on the moon, and complete a set of objectives.

Firms have until the end of 2012 to claim the top prize of $20m; after that it drops to $15m before the contest closes in 2014. Additional, smaller prizes are available to any private moon mission that hits other goals after landing, such as capturing pictures of the Apollo landing site, or surviving the freezing temperatures of the lunar night.

The X-Prize foundation said rovers should be fitted with high-definition video and still cameras, be capable of transmitting their images back to Earth, and would have to cover at least 500m of lunar surface to win the top prize.

Dr Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X-Prize Foundation said in a statement: "The Google Lunar X PRIZE seeks to create a global private race to the Moon that excites and involves people around the world, and accelerates space exploration for the benefit of all humanity.

"The use of space has dramatically enhanced quality of life and may ultimately lead to solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems that we face on earth – energy independence and climate change." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.