Penn State Lunar X Prize team plans to crowdfund its way to the moon

Gigaom

What did you accomplish in college? Did you lead a club? Did you even turn in your homework?

At Pennsylvania State University, more than 80 students are pursuing a slightly more noble goal: landing a spacecraft on the moon, and hopefully earning $30 million in the process. The Lunar Lion team is competing in the Google Lunar X Prize, which challenges private teams to land on the moon and then move their craft to a second location at least 500 meters away by the end of 2015.

Lunar Lion director Michael Paul, a former NASA spacecraft systems engineer, said the university asked him to look into opportunities to become more involved in space exploration. Three years ago, he was OK’d to pursue the X Prize.

“I’ve really fallen in love with the idea of building these robots and using them as our eyes and ears around the solar system,” Paul…

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