Friday, August 14, 2009
Odyssey Moon Favored for the Prize
Any one of the 19 Google Lunar X-Prize Teams are commercial underdogs in landing and operating a lunar robot by 2014 to win $30-million and meet all the launch and landing conditions but Odyssey Moon, the first to file as a contestant, appears to be pulling together a champion international team of stellar veterans to master the effort with a potential launch date of mid-to-late 2012.
Insiders are saying that "MoonOne" (M-1) is the early leader to win the prize if the teams is able to manage a ride aboard either an Orbital Sciences Corporation Minotaur V or SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Many favor M-1 because of its real mission: Odyssey Moon program is seeking evidence for lunar resources that could be mined by future astronauts seeking profit, according to Bob Richards [video].
While Europe, Japan, India, China, the United States have each placed recent spacecraft in lunar orbit with Russia and Germany on stand-by, the latest news is that Odyssey Moon may even bring along England's Beagle-3 or "Lunar Beagle" or at least some of Dr. Collin Pillinger's scientific instruments to aid in finding profitable lunar minerals to mine such as He3.