Part-Time Scientists lunar rover.
As part of a $30 million competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon, Berlin based challengers, Part-Time Scientists, have earned themselves $750,000 in milestone prizes with the help of 3D printing.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE is the largest ever, international incentive based prize set up to open a new era of space exploration on a budget. Challengers, Part-Time Scientists set out to champion cutting edge technology by partnering with advanced technology companies, SLM Solutions and Citim.
As leaders in the additive manufacturing sector, the companies provided the team with space worthy components for the Asimov lunar rover. Asimov’s wheel design means it can move easily in any direction with no front or back to the rover and altogether with the team’s lander, Isaac, the entire kit weighs approximately 250kg with up to 50kg of payload space.
SLM Solutions’ and Citim’s SLM technology was behind the camera adapter and intricate wheel structure on the rover’s four-wheeled design, giving the team the freedom to create a much more complex wheel tread and have it produced at a lower cost to traditional manufacturing methods. Visitors to EuroMold last November may have caught a glimpse of the rover when it was exhibited on SLM Solutions' stand at the show in Frankfurt.
Part-Time Scientists rover on display at EuroMold 2014.
The competition offers a total of $6 million in Milestone Prizes that challenge competitors to overcome the technical risks in the three main areas driving a successful mission; imaging, mobility and lander systems.
Part-Time Scientists, including scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs from all over the world, were selected to compete for two Milestone Prizes, the Mobility Prize and the Imaging Prize which earned them a total of $750,000 towards the final prize. The objective of these additional Milestone prizes is to reduce the risk for teams’ financial backers by providing a chance to earn some of the prize money before completing the soft-landing phase on the Moon’s surface.
Also competing for the Milestone Prizes were teams; Astrobotic, Team Indus, Moon Express and Hakuto. These teams will now go ahead in the hope of achieving the ultimate goal of landing a robot safely on the Moon, travelling 500 metres on the surface and successfully send HD images back to Earth all by December 31st 2016.