Google Lunar X Prize Team Lunatrex Relishes Underdog Role

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Underdog Team Aims for Moon
Space.com

Lunatrex may have considered itself an underdog in the race for the Google Lunar X PRIZE, but the team now realizes that its slow-but-steady approach just might work.

“I feel very good about our team’s chances,” said Pete Bitar, Lunatrex team leader. “Our approach is very sober, very realistic, with plenty of margin and room for error…it’s got risks, but the risks all have hedges.”

That approach is encapsulated in the team’s plan to use an electric propulsion engine to reach the moon over several months, rather than days. Spacecraft such as Deep Space 1 and the Dawn probe have used such engines to shoot a stream of charged particles out and slowly accelerate.

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