Print 30 comment(s) - last by Guttersnipe.. on Nov 1 at 4:59 PM

  (Source: X Prize Foundation)
Carmack and team bring home $350,000 in prize money

The Lunar X prize is a contest sponsored by NASA with the end goal of driving the creation of technology required to deliver people and payloads to the surface of the moon. Several teams compete each year to win prize money.

The Lunar Lander Challenge was first announced in 2006. John Carmack from id Software -- the game publisher behind the popular Doom title -- competed in several of the competitions since the contest’s inception.

Carmack and his Armadillo Aerospace team won stage one of the Lunar Lander Challenge and took home $350,000 in prize money. The overall purse up for grabs is $2 million and the event is hosted by the X Prize Foundation.

The contest was held at the Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico last weekend and on Saturday Carmack and his team's Pixel craft competed stage one. To complete the stage, Pixel had to take off and climb to 150 feet where it hovered for 90 seconds and then touchdown on a landing pad 150 feet away. The same feat had to be accomplished again in reverse to win the stage.

Level two of the competition was attempted by Carmack and his team, but they failed. Level two increased the hover time to 180 seconds and requires participants to land on a simulated moon environment. Carmack and his team attempted to win level one last year but failed due to a landing gear malfunction.

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40 years ago...
By Lord 666 on 10/28/2008 1:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why would NASA sponsor a new project that was for a task completed 40 years ago?

Would love to see the testing video of Carmack's pod. Wonder if NASA did the same type of testing?

RE: 40 years ago...
By CheesePoofs on 10/28/2008 1:16:25 PM , Rating: 5
a) it wasn't done 40 years ago (this is designed to move around the lunar surface, something Apollo never did
b) this will be way cheaper
c) it encourages the formation of small rocket companies which can easily expand, helping NASA (Armadillo Aerospace recently announced plans to build a suborbital passenger-carrying vehicle)

RE: 40 years ago...
By nosfe on 10/28/2008 1:23:36 PM , Rating: 5
and also, the Union Aerospace Corporation has to start somewhere

RE: 40 years ago...
By wingless on 10/28/2008 1:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
You beat me to it. It is still good to know others are thinking about this threat as well.

RE: 40 years ago...
By GlassHouse69 on 10/28/2008 11:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
hahaha nice

RE: 40 years ago...
By JasonMick on 10/28/2008 1:48:49 PM , Rating: 5
The upcoming stages that Carmack has yet to complete...

Level 2: Design a lunar lander that can help transport troops to a large foreboding space base which is built upon strange alien ruins which just might hold the key to awesome teleportation technology.

Prize: $100M USD

Level 3: After the first design mysteriously vanishes and contact is lost with your landing team, design a third lander to be able to transport a single hardened marine to investigate the incident. Lander must include chainsaw and BFG 9000, or you cannot qualify for the prize.

Note: Your lander may need to withstand slight impacts from Hell Knights or other undead.

Prize: $200M USD

RE: 40 years ago...
By m0mentary on 10/28/2008 2:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
just wondering, does anyone know the development costs they've incurred so far?

RE: 40 years ago...
By kkwst2 on 10/28/2008 6:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
Just wondering, but why in the hell would you reply to that post with a serious question?

Anyway, I'm also curious. I'm guessing it's more than the prize. I'm guessing Carmack is not doing it for the money.

RE: 40 years ago...
By someguy123 on 10/28/2008 7:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
indeed. in the cnet videos he talks about the project being around the past 3 years, and considering what he's building it's got to be quite costly especially when it fails and breaks apart.

RE: 40 years ago...
By grath on 10/28/2008 8:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
The prize money for these kind of competitions is almost entirely symbolic and nobody is really under any illusion about that. The enormity of the technical challenge set forth does not lend itself to being restricted by an arbitrary budget. Scaled Composites didnt win the Ansari X-Prize by trying to stick to a $10 million budget, they had funding from billionaire Paul Allen. Armadillo Aerospace isnt Scaled Composites, and John Carmack isnt Burt Rutan or Paul Allen, but he may be a good combination of a little of both, and in any case he knows how this game is played and is apparently playing to win.

RE: 40 years ago...
By dflynchimp on 10/28/2008 8:26:27 PM , Rating: 2
also includes revolutionary technology of the duct tape mod, so said hardened marine can free up his hand so he doesn't have to switch between using his flashlight and his heavy weapons. He can have his cake and eat it too.

RE: 40 years ago...
By MamiyaOtaru on 10/29/2008 5:10:11 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe these guys are Ultor

RE: 40 years ago...
By omnicronx on 10/28/2008 2:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
Because unless you are volunteering, nobody in their right mind would try to land on the moon in what was basically a tin foil lander that was little more than a CM in thickness.

RE: 40 years ago...
By theapparition on 10/29/2008 8:15:36 AM , Rating: 2
You wish!

In several places, it was less than a mm in thickness!

RE: 40 years ago...
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 10/28/2008 4:35:41 PM , Rating: 3
"Why would NASA sponsor a new project that was for a task completed 40 years ago?"

The apollo lander is not safe enough by today's standards. And any program the government does would cost 100 times more than these companies spent + the prize money.

(and some people want the government to take over health care!)

RE: 40 years ago...
By ThePooBurner on 10/28/08, Rating: -1
RE: 40 years ago...
By Yossarian22 on 10/28/2008 11:54:13 PM , Rating: 3
Of course.
Now go away and take your tinfoil hat with you.

RE: 40 years ago...
By Spookster on 10/30/2008 12:54:46 PM , Rating: 1
Because we have never been there. The moon landing was faked. That is why we have to design whole new space craft and vehicles to do it again. Caue the last ones won't work cause they never did.

MythBusters already disproved those myths. Go burn your poo elsewhere.

RE: 40 years ago...
By smokedturkey on 10/29/2008 8:34:43 PM , Rating: 3
because, there was never a moon landing. it was all a hoax and whoever believes in that is probably an Osama supporter anyway. (read: pipedreamer)

RE: 40 years ago...
By Jellodyne on 10/30/2008 3:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
Pipedreamers are the ones thinking McBain will win.

By Hieyeck on 10/28/2008 12:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's good to see a gamer win something so important. I honestly believe gamers (at least the ones that don't grow up to be mass murderers - don't get me wrong, I blame piss-poor parenting, not gaming) will be humanity's driving force of innovation. Gamers experience many worlds where the laws of physics of thermodynamics don't apply. They'll be more prone to think up and try ideas that seems to fly in the face accepted science.

I'm all for science and scientific method, but sometimes, we just need to say 'screw it' and try it out anyways. Hell, that's how we got to the moon in the first place - strapped to a few thousand pounds of explosive material burning in a barely controlled environment.

RE: Nice
By Guttersnipe on 10/28/2008 1:02:50 PM , Rating: 3
on the other hand his lack of focus in id software shows, they haven't put out anything worth playing in a long long time.

RE: Nice
By grath on 10/28/2008 9:16:34 PM , Rating: 2
id doesnt really need its own blockbuster games to stay profitable as long people still want to build games on the id Tech engines. The engine itself is where most of their focus remains, and every few years when the next generation of the engine is ready they release a new Doom or Quake. The games dont even need to be good, they just need to show off what the engine is capable of. Gamers will generally buy them regardless just off the strength of the brand name, and developers are more interested in the demonstration of the technical capabilities of the engine. The games become essentially a marketing tool for the middleware.

RE: Nice
By Guttersnipe on 11/1/2008 4:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
well the problem is that they aren't the go to engine guys anymore. they started off with a superior engine but they let epic pass them with the unreal engine quite a while ago. there's nothing impressive about hearing a game is running on an id engine anymore. you are more likely to hear that its based on unreal.
they've been coasting on past glory, and if carmack doesn't snap it back into focus they will fade away.
countless games are based on unreal engine. even just counting the last generation its 76 games for unreal engine 3.
idtech 4-5? 7 games, most of those from id themselves.
no ones licensing their engines anymore. and the aura of id games is fading, you can only dissapoint gamers so many times before they ignore you. you don't see the excitement over the more recent id games that you used to see with their earlier works. and with your competitor outselling you by 10x for game engine tech, the idea that the game as a marketing tool for middleware is not working for id anymore.

By menace on 10/28/2008 5:50:16 PM , Rating: 2
15 years ago McDonnell Douglas developed an experimental hovering spacecraft, the DC-X or "Delta Clipper". They did a couple of successful demonstration flights before it crashed on the third flight due to a failed landing strut deployment. The second flight reached 3140 meters altitude and 142 seconds of flight time. Not sure what is novel about this competition.

By AFMatt on 10/29/2008 9:54:11 AM , Rating: 2
What is novel about this competition is projects like the DC-X were funded by the Space Defense Initiative Office/DoD. McDonnell Douglas received a couple hundred million dollars to develop that vehicle before NASA took the project over. Armadillo Aerospace is self funded.

With that, contests like these tend to bring out a lot more ideas, new designs, new ways of using technology, etc than private contracts with manufacturers/gov't contractors like McDonnell Douglas.

The breakdown from Carmack
By jjunos on 10/28/2008 1:09:29 PM , Rating: 3
Not sure why a link to the actual company's blog wasn't posted instead. Carmack has always been incredible open about his work here and his blog about the competition (and some of the trials getting there) are no different:

While this was still “the little one”, everyone involved was thrilled with the victory. This was the second X-Prize to be awarded, and the largest Centennial Challenge award (the other award being the Astronaut Glove Challenge). NASA, Northrop Grumman, the X-Prize foundation, the state of New Mexico, and the FAA/AST people all seemed extremely pleased and excited.

It's just practice.
By AssBall on 10/28/2008 2:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
They are getting ready to open the slip gates on Phobos and Deimos.

Be afraid.

By IraeNicole on 10/28/2008 2:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
That is pretty awesome. I am curious how much it cost.

By kattanna on 10/28/2008 2:48:12 PM , Rating: 2
congrats to them, they have spent many years working on rockets and its good to see some successes for them

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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