Astrobotic Technology, a prominent Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Lunar XPRIZE competitor is gearing up to become the first delivery service to the Moon.
With a low-cost launch, they currently have a lander with the ability for precision landings. The lander is powered by new system on a chip (SOC) technologies. The latter was built by Nvidia with assistance from General Electric.
Astrobotic is aware that space and robotics are hardly simple. However at a current Nvidia sponsored technology conference, the firm’s engineers were showcasing technologies that could ostensibly ease and accelerate the path to the Moon.
The firm is offering a ride to the Moon to anybody, which includes their XPRIZE competitors. They are suggesting a civilized Mad Max road competition to the finish line 500 meters away on the Moon’s surface. The winner gets the $20 million grand prize. As of now, only the Japanese team HAKUTO has given them company.
To bring their moon mission to fruition, the firm is putting together an interesting combination of old and modern into their lander design, the Griffin Lander.
The new features the NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) Tegra K1 chip used in the beginning in its Jetson dev kit. The old is General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) designing the custom boards founded on Tegra K1 and low-cost computer boards. The latter is hoped to be recognized as a superior, inexpensive replacement to existing radiation hardened electronics costing millions. The Nvidia dev kit comes at a litter over than $300.
Astrobotics is leveraging laser guided imagery that was originally developed to compete for the DARPA Grand Challenge for autonomous vehicles. The convergence of all of this technology is designed to get Astrobotic much beyond the Google Lunar XPRIZE.
As Astrobotic’s Thornton underlines, attempting to win the XPRIZE is not the ultimate goal, but just a stepping stone to a more lofty achievement. With continued advances in technology across many disciplines and dogged persistence, Astrobotic may well become the first lunar FedEx or UPS – a trans-continental transport system to the Moon.