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Penn State Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Moonlander

Pennsylvania State University has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its Lunar Lion moonlander project, which aims to land on the moon by December 2015. The crowdfunding campaign will run on RocketHub from January 20 to February 24.

According to the university, Penn State's Lunar Lion team is the only university-led team in the Google Lunar XPrize competition. The competition is organized by the XPrize Foundation and sponsored by Google. More than 30 privately funded teams from around the world are competing for $40 million in prizes. To win, a team must safely land a craft on the moon, transmit images back to Earth, travel 500 meters to another location on the moon and then transmit images again. The competition deadline is December 31, 2015.

Penn State's Lunar Lion team is led by Michael Paul, director of Space Systems Initiatives for the university's Applied Research Laboratory. The team includes more than 80 Penn State students from a variety of disciplines. With this crowdfunding campaign, the team aims to raise $406,536 to help design and build a prototype of its moonlander. Paul believes this moon landing will be another "Apollo moment" and that it will "launch a new age of space science and exploration," he said in a prepared statement.

According to information on the Lunar Lion site, the team began planning the Lunar Lion mission in January 2013 and intends to complete its mission planning and lander prototyping phase by July of this year. From July 2014 to January 2015, the team will continue to develop the lander's flight system and test the prototype. From February to September 2015, they will conduct final flight system checks and prepare for launch. From September to November 2015, they will set up the operations center and prepare for launch, and then from December 2015 to January 2016, mission control will conduct flight operations.

Further information about Penn State's Lunar Lion project can be found on the university's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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