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To the moon, Google
September 13, 2007 11:49 AM   Subscribe


 
Navigation control panel: "Plot Course" and "I'm Feeling Lucky"
posted by pracowity at 11:53 AM on September 13, 2007 [9 favorites]


More like, Sergey gotta get his runway.
posted by four panels at 12:00 PM on September 13, 2007


Not "you," just your rover.
posted by brownpau at 12:08 PM on September 13, 2007


$30 million sounds like my typical bill at Lowes. Surely a moon shot wouldn't be that cheap.
posted by chef_boyardee at 12:13 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Google already sends me to the moon. *clasps hands, bats eyelashes*
posted by DU at 12:13 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Google Lunar X Prize will allow every schoolchild, teacher and person on the planet to participate in going back to the Moon in a way that government exploration never could.

Seriously, though, while this is awesome and exciting and awesome not EVERYONE can participate. At least not any more than they could before. Now if Google were pushing for legislation to allow people to launch rockets in their backyards, not to mention give everyone physics and engineering degrees and access to materials....
posted by DU at 12:18 PM on September 13, 2007


$30 million probably wouldn't cover the cost of the fuel for the launch.

It takes a LOT of energy to get to, and then land on, the Moon.
posted by Malor at 12:20 PM on September 13, 2007


The point of the prize isn't to reimburse your expenses. If you win, trust me, you'll have plenty of business opportunities knocking on your door.
posted by DU at 12:34 PM on September 13, 2007


Oh come on DU, in what way can everyday Americans participate in NASA? By becoming an Eagle Scout and getting a PhD? Or by becoming a multibillion dollar contracting company like Northrop Grumman and winning sweetheart contracts with USAF or NASA?

Come on, this is clearly more accessible to most Americans.
posted by chlorus at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2007


Oh, and with Bill Richardson pushing for New Mexico to be a space hub, maybe that will democratize things a bit too.
posted by chlorus at 12:40 PM on September 13, 2007


Now if Google were pushing for legislation to allow people to launch rockets in their backyards

Legislation? Who needs legislation? This is the SPACE AGE, man, fuck the law! Imagine Old Man Flatfoot leading you away in handcuffs for an unauthorized suburban backyard launch. You'll be the talk of every Fourth of July barbecue for the next twenty years!
posted by Greg Nog at 12:42 PM on September 13, 2007


$30 million probably wouldn't cover the cost of the fuel for the launch.

Depends on what you're putting in the tank.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:43 PM on September 13, 2007


Well, I was pulling together a post about the new "Space Race" between the US, Russia, China, and Japan and how slow it is developing, but then Google has to go do this and trump me.

So I'll just post the link I found that was perhaps the most interesting: New Propulsion System.
posted by never used baby shoes at 12:43 PM on September 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I like the idea of economic incentives to spur colonization of space ... but $30 million? Make it $1 billion at least, and make the time frame 3-4 years.
posted by geoff. at 12:53 PM on September 13, 2007


the link I found that was perhaps the most interesting: New Propulsion System
That's cool and all, but 35 ┬ÁN thrust?! That is almost precisely 12 orders of magnitudes less thrust than a Saturn V: i.e., it would take a literally a trillion of these units to generate the equivalent thrust. I can only hope it does well at larger scales.
posted by exogenous at 12:57 PM on September 13, 2007


I like how the prize package drops to $15 million if no one manages to do it by 2012. Like as if, you know, someone could actually pull it off they but for that extra $15 million.
posted by delmoi at 12:59 PM on September 13, 2007


exogenous: This was just a proof of concept demonstration - I believe the article states that they expect it to scale up with more equipment.

The lab's own press release includes a statement to the effect that the thrust produced by this device is close to what is needed for missions. I can only assume we are talking unmanned missions that use a different system to move the payload into space, at which point these thrusters would take over.
posted by never used baby shoes at 1:12 PM on September 13, 2007


I was hoping Google was just going to kiss me.
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:42 PM on September 13, 2007


I think the laser thrust systems will only work when you're already in space.
posted by empath at 2:13 PM on September 13, 2007


As for fuel, clearly, they should use Mono-Hydrazine
posted by eckeric at 2:20 PM on September 13, 2007


When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.
posted by quite unimportant at 2:35 PM on September 13, 2007


use a different system to move the payload into space, at which point these thrusters would take over
Oh, OK, that makes more sense.
posted by exogenous at 2:44 PM on September 13, 2007


When deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.

"MeFi's Own" CheeseBurgerBrown agrees. See latest post in the work of literary art that is his blog.
posted by niles at 2:53 PM on September 13, 2007


She packed my bags last night pre-flight
Zero hour nine a.m.
And i'm gonna be high as a kite by then . . .
posted by nola at 3:35 PM on September 13, 2007


I bet this is part of some evil master plan to take over the moon.

I'm in.
posted by quin at 3:53 PM on September 13, 2007


Dunno, we've been there, sending robots there, its a solved problem, etc. If google has too much money in its pockets how about trying something that hasnt been done before like finding a cure to malaria or at least a cheap vaccine. These geek wet-dream projects are all flash and no show.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:55 PM on September 13, 2007


I've always maintained that commercially viable, cheap space travel will almost have to be promoted and financed by the private sector.

This is no real surprise, though I am glad to see it happen. I wish more companies would sponsor the idea. I'm 'bout ready to visit the moon, myself. Would make for a killer flickr photo pool.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:01 PM on September 13, 2007


If google has too much money in its pockets how about trying something that hasnt been done before like finding a cure to malaria or at least a cheap vaccine.

They've already taken away search and mail. They can let Bill have one thing to call his own.

Anyway, at least they're funding science instead of buying more mansions, paying for their daughter's terrible singing career or whatever else millionaires tend to do with their money. It may be a less noble branch of science, but let's just be happy they're moving in the right direction.
posted by Gary at 5:34 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


My money's on Andy Griffith.
posted by mazola at 9:21 PM on September 13, 2007


Meanwhile, Japan launches its first lunar probe. America's yesterday's news. Too bad; we all had such high hopes for it, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:41 PM on September 13, 2007


Fine, I'll bite. How is space travel a "less noble" kind of science?
posted by lazaruslong at 11:16 PM on September 13, 2007


No offense is intended, honest. Noble is probably a poor word choice for what I meant. Charitable, maybe?

All else being equal, the person who cures malaria or cancer or any fatal disease will be seen as more of a humanitarian than the person who builds a robot that drives around on the moon.
posted by Gary at 1:42 AM on September 14, 2007


(Even that comes across as too harsh. When space travel enables us to find new planets with fresh water, vegetation and oil, please don't gloat too much)
posted by Gary at 2:00 AM on September 14, 2007


I will need two years, $4 million dollars, 64 tractor trailers, a significant amount of rope and the entire Krazy Kaplan's fireworks chain.
posted by jscott at 3:49 AM on September 14, 2007


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