UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State’s quest to land on the moon achieved a major milestone yesterday (Sept. 3) with the opening of the Lunar Lion team’s new official headquarters in Research Building West.
"This is where everything’s going to happen," said Michael Paul, director of the University’s Lunar Lion effort and director of space systems initiatives.
Penn State is the only university leading a team in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition, which challenges researchers to build and launch a privately funded spacecraft to the moon capable of completing a series of exploration and imaging tasks.
To win the grand prize of $20 million, a team must be the first to land a vehicle on the moon’s surface that explores at least two locations a third of a mile apart. The vehicle must transmit high-resolution images of both locations back to Earth.
Until now, the team has had to make due with whatever space it could find in doing the work necessary to win the prize, including Steidle Building and Research Center C.
“Some of us were in a building out by the stadium,” said Reuben Bushnell, an electrical engineering graduate student, referring to Research Center C. “Most of the difficulty was getting out there and getting access to the building.”