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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Israeli Team Competes in Google's Lunar X Prize

The waxing gibbous Moon as observed from EarthImage via Wikipedia

An Israeli group is one of 26 teams world-wide competing to win Google's Lunar X prize of $30 million dollars. The prize will be awarded to the first privately funded team to soft land an unmanned vehicle on the moon, move it 500 meters across the lunar surface and return images and data to earth. Additional prizes will be awarded for reaching other goals.The Israeli team plans to use the contest to inspire Israeli education in space technologies, an area in which Israel now lags.

English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean...Image via Wikipedia
The Israeli team has raised funding of $1 million and is looking for additional funding. Their robot uses Israeli nanotechnology already in existence. Israel launches its satellites westward, rather than the more common eastward direction, which keeps them out of enemy hands should they crash. However, it takes much more energy to orbit a satellite counter to the earth's rotation, so Israel has developed an edge in building very light weight satellites.

The robotic satellite that Team Space IL will build is only the size of a cell phone handset, and it will sit on a gigantic fuel tank that powers it. This nanosatellite will carry a miniature Israeli flag and the technology needed to complete the mission of the Lunar X prize. All of the winnings will be dedicated to spreading science and space education in Israel.

Go to the Space IL web site to learn more. Join the groups, and perhaps you or your company can contribute to funding the endeavor.

Related articles:

Trying to put the Israeli flag on the moon - (
Join Space IL - (

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