It looks like New Mexico's the place to be for anyone looking to catch a glimpse of a possible future mission to the moon, with the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge set to get underway tomorrow at the Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo. As an added incentive for competitors, NASA is ponying up $2M in prizes, although they'll have their work cut out for them if they want to take that home. Specifically, they need to show off
a rocket-propelled vehicle and payload that "takes off vertically, climbs to a defined altitude, flies for a pre-determined amount of time, and then land vertically on a target that is a fixed distance from the launch pad." Then they have to do that all over again within a predetermined period of time. To open things up a bit, there's also two difficulty levels but, as with all challenges of this sort
, no one takes home a prize unless they fully meet all the requirements.
, photo courtesy of X-Prize Foundation/Paragon Labs