The 'Moon Race' Competition From Airbus Space Is Here...But What Is It, Exactly?

Friday, 05 October 2018 - 11:09AM
Technology
Friday, 05 October 2018 - 11:09AM
The 'Moon Race' Competition From Airbus Space Is Here...But What Is It, Exactly?
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Earlier this week at the International Astronautical Congress in Germany, Airbus Space announced a new contest called "The Moon Race," which is not (as we assumed) a new TV game show involving couples racing through space to reach Phil Keoghan on a lunar podium.  According to the Head of Space Systems at Airbus, Nicolas Chamussy, the purpose of the competition is to "boost the movement around Moon exploration and enable the demonstration of key technologies required for its sustainable exploration." Not all the details have been revealed, including how exactly people can sign up or what the prize will be for the "winning" team, but here's what we do know:

"The Moon Race" is supported by Blue Origin, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Mexican Space Agency (Agencia Espacial Mexicana), and Vinci Construction. It is managed by a non-profit based in Germany called The Moon Race NPO gGmbH, and is geared toward startups and SMEs (small-to-medium enterprises) around the world. According to the official website for the contest, the program will last for 5 years, with selected teams tasked with reaching milestones with "increasing complexity." Participants will get to choose between five "parallel technology streams" which are "dedicated to a particular sustainable exploration challenge." Manufacturing teams will be asked to "build the first artefact made of lunar resources, the Energy prompt simply states "enlighten the Moon night," teams will have to fill a bottle with Moon water for the Resources category, and those who choose Biology will have to "sustain the first lunar greenhouse."



"We're excited to be a part of an international collaboration to build a sustained presence on the moon," BlueOrigin said via Twitter. "#BlueMoon and #NewGlenn will help us get back to the moon, and this time to stay." The signup process will reportedly begin at some point in 2019, with prototypes due the following year. Testing would then take place around 2021, with 2024 as the tentative date for a moon mission with the new tech. For updates on The Moon Race competition, follow the contest on Twitter and maybe start drafting smart friends for your team.
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