Engadget: Google’s $20 million Lunar Xprize will end without a winner. “The Lunar Xprize is about to come to an anticlimactic end after more than a decade. Google has confirmed to CNBC that it doesn’t plan to extend the $20 million competition past its March 31st deadline — itself an extension well beyond the original 2014 end date. Given that all the finalists either don’t have the funds to continue or don’t expect to launch that quickly (the fastest, SpaceIL, might not launch before the end of 2018), the competition is effectively over with no winners. Not that Google minds, however.”
Smithsonian: Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Launches New Podcast. “Today the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum launched its first podcast, ‘AirSpace.’ The museum contains the largest and most significant collection of air- and spacecraft in the world, and this new series aims to tell the human stories of achievement, failure and perseverance behind those famous machines. Each episode will demystify the world’s most popular museum, and explore why people are so fascinated with stories of exploration, innovation and discovery.”
Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum Releases “VR Hangar” App. “People across the country and around the world can now use their mobile phones to see moments that made air and space history with the new VR Hangar from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The VR Hangar brings some of the museum’s most important milestone artifacts to life using real 3-D-scan data in immersive virtual-reality vignettes. The app is optimized for use with Google Cardboard and similar devices, and is available free of charge in the iOS and Android app stores.”
New Scientist: Google-sponsored private moon race delayed for the fourth time. “The deadline for the Google Lunar X Prize has been pushed backed once again, from the end of 2017 to 31 March 2018. The prize offers $30 million to the first privately-funded venture that puts a spacecraft on the moon. In order to win the money, competitors’ rovers will have to explore at least 500 metres of the moon’s surface and send back high-definition images and video. However, this new deadline came with additional ‘milestone prizes’ which will let the companies win some money even if they are not entirely successful.”
New to me: a Web site tracking upcoming rocket launches. It’s a sheet with a list of upcoming launches, several filter/search options, and external links to mission pages. As you might imagine this page is crammed with data, but going through it’s not too bad.
New from NASA, and I hope you have a spare couple hundred hours: NASA Unveils New Searchable Video, Audio and Imagery Library for the Public. “NASA officially has launched a new resource to help the public search and download out-of-this-world images, videos and audio files by keyword and metadata searches from NASA.gov. The NASA Image and Video Library website consolidates imagery spread across more than 60 collections into one searchable location. ASA Image and Video Library allows users to search, discover and download a treasure trove of more than 140,000 NASA images, videos and audio files from across the agency’s many missions in aeronautics, astrophysics, Earth science, human spaceflight, and more. Users now can embed content in their own sites and choose from multiple resolutions to download. The website also displays the metadata associated with images.”
The Guardian: Hopping rockets and flying washing machines in Google’s wacky race to moon. “By the end of the year, space engineers hope to fulfil one of their greatest dreams. They plan to land a privately funded probe on the moon and send a small robot craft trundling over the lunar surface. If they succeed they will open up the exploitation of the moon for mining and ultimately human colonisation – and earn $20m prize money as winners of the Google Lunar XPrize.”