The Lunar Lion is a crowdfunding mission by Pennsylvania State faculty and students.
The project is the university’s entry to win the Google Lunar X-Prize, a competition that will award $40 million to a private company that can “land safely on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters above, below, or on the Lunar surface, and send back two ‘Mooncasts’ to Earth.”
Aside from becoming the first non-government group to land an aircraft on the moon, the project is also a learning and research opportunity for the students.
The Lunar Lion team, led by Michael Paul the project’s faculty director and a space systems engineer at the university’s Applied Research Laboratory, has been working on the project since 2011. The team has worked on designing a prototype space craft and developing a business plan.
At the start of the year the team began mission planning, a phase which will end by July. During this phase, the team will complete their design and begin building the Lunar Lion lander prototype. The team will develop the flight system and test the prototype lander from July to January 2015. Final flight system testing and launch preparation is scheduled from February to September 2015. After which the team will set up the Lunar Lion operational center and begin mission simulations until the launch in December 2015.
To raise funds for the project, they launched a crowdfunding campaign on RocketHub. Supporters who donate $100 and more get the chance to have their names, signatures, and messages engraved on the Lunar Lion lander.
Check out the video below for more about the campaign.
Source: The Daily Dot
Images: Lunar Lion