Space Prize Roundup - TEMPO3 Balloon test, Space Show, Climber test, DARPA audio book, sand and water, more

I've been away for 10 or so days, and I don't have a realistic chance to catch up on all of the space prize activity that's happened over that time, but here are some recent items:

@spaceshow - Conrad Foundation high school Award winners are on The Space Show today, 12-1:30 PM PDT. Listen at

@tempo3 (Mars Society project contest winner) - Balloon launch day! Late night last night, but we're ready to head out this morning for an 11AM launch.

... (see the linked twitter account for intervening tweets) ...

Balloon flight over. Results unsuccessful. Problem most likely at interface between balloon and gondola. Hardware recovered. Reflt poss

Stratofox remote support for Mars Society TEMPO3 balloon, September 26, 2009 - This includes numerous updates, several pictures, and a summary.

@ikluft also has some twitter updates from the Stratofox side.

WHAT IS "COMMERCIAL SPACE"? - Ken Davidian (former NASA Centennial Challenges manager) on the Commercial Space Wiki

@spacehack - NASA needs ideas from you for new prize challenges: (thx @doug_comstock). Spacehack has a few up at

The MiniSpaceWorld Design Contest has extended its deadline to November 1:

It's a wrap for DARPA audio book - Dispatches from the Final Frontier (Michael Belfiore) - ... My director, David Rapkin, seemed particularly taken with the chapter on the Urban Challenge, DARPA's autonomous vehicle race. ...

DARPA/EERC green jet fuel wins Popular Science Best of What's New - Dispatches from the Final Frontier

Spirit of the Competition - BFD (Big Freewheeling Digger, a Regolith Excavation Challenge team)

@paulsrobotics (Regolith Excavation Challenge team) - Just bought 250 dollars worth of sand, also known as 5000 lbs. Yeah. ... Lots of sand, 4 more like this

Moonraker Robot from Paul’s Robotics to Compete in 2009 Regolith Excavation Challenge - press release on PRLog

Next Space Elevator Games testing coming up - The Space Elevator Blog posts an email from the Kansas City Space Pirates

@lasermotive (Beam Power team) - We're ready for the 5,000' helicopter test tomorrow. Hopefully it will go as well as the 1,000' test did!

... (see the linked twitter account for intervening tweets on the testing, which also included 2 other teams, USST and Kansas City Space Pirates) ...

Done testing for the day. All of our tests were successful.

Gold Rush on the Moon - Peter Diamandis at the Huffington Post - This discusses the recent announcement on water on the Moon and the role Google Lunar X PRIZE teams might play as prospectors. It also looks ahead to more data - this time from the LCROSS impact.

In the comments, Google Lunar X PRIZE team NextGiantLeap notes:

The recent findings seem to indicate that hydrogen from the sun is bonding with oxygen on the lunar surface to form trace amounts of H2O and HO. These findings also seem to indicate that some process, perhaps solar wind, is causing these atoms to migrate towards the poles. If this water has been accumulating in permanently shadowed craters near the poles for millions of years, there could be a lot of water available there!

Here are a couple eyebrow-raising tweets from a Google Lunar X PRIZE team:

@odysseymoon - @scibuff The other shoe(s) will drop when Paul Spudis releases his min-SAR discoveries from LRO & Chandrayaan. LCROSS will be the slam-dunk.

@bob_richards - @danzi94 We hope the news of the UK student competition will come out soon. Watch the ISSET website

The Importance of Lunar Water - Dennis Wingo at SpaceRef briefly mentions the Google Lunar X PRIZE in this article. Part of the article concerns a choice between surface robotics at the Moon or Mars. I don't have a preference one way or the other; I think we can and should do both. To be able to afford that, I suspect we need many smaller landers at both the Moon and Mars, with a bias towards incremental improvements rather than starting from scratch each mission.

@airshipz - The Airship Z Prize has a couple posts that aren't on their proposed prize, but are about interesting airship news:

Airships to the Arctic ~ Oct 7-9th Calgary, Alberta Also, link to article on event from WIRED

Dynalifter airship goes where trucks can't 1,000-ft airship will be able to haul 250 tons & take 100's of workers to build

@fineri (N-Prize team) - Got a 4" dia slab of round aluminium bar toady, so the lathe and I are going to get intimate over the next week or so!...... - Nose cone making, with a road cone!

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