Move Over, Rover: Next Giant Leap Gets $1 Million Grant To Build Hopping Moon Landers
Next Giant Leap in Boulder, Coloradoâ€” a startup thatâ€™s making robots that will land and hop around on the surfaces of other planets in order to gather data, detect resources valuable to humans, and more â€” attained a $1 million grant from the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, to advance their technology and pursue the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize in 2012, the companies revealed today.
One of Next Giant Leapâ€™s team members, Seamus Tuohy (also Draperâ€™s director of space systems) explained what NGL is working on and its potential uses:
â€œWeâ€™re developing critical technology for landing and hopping, both to satisfy the rules for the Google Lunar X Prize, and to provide an innovative, regional-scale science measurement capability. Unlike rovers that go to a single point on the surface of a planet, and then maybe two kilometers away and back, retreating if something is in the way, these would land, then ascend a bit, do a translation, traverse above the terrain to land in another spot. The lander-hopper weâ€™re building is about the size of a coffee table, not a car.”
With this grant, the NGL team, led by founder Michael Joyce, has raised about $1.5 million, including an investment of $200,000 by the teamâ€™s founder Michael Joyce, a $100,000 from Jolted Media Group Ltd., a $30,000 grant from eSpace an incubator program for space startups, and $125,000 from Sierra Nevada Corporation.
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