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Dizzying Intellect » Onward and Upward

Onward and Upward

CNN.com - NASA launches lunar rocket challenge

NASA said Friday it is sponsoring a $2 million contest to spur aerospace designers to build and demonstrate versatile rockets that may one day support a lunar mission.

Competing teams have to build a rocket that can launch vertically, climb to a certain altitude and suspend in the air, land at a target 100 yards away and then return to its original launch pad.

NASA hopes the technology developed would be capable of carrying humans and cargo back and forth between the lunar surface and orbit.

The lunar contest will be held during the X Prize Cup in New Mexico in October, an annual event featuring rocket competitions and space-related activities. It will be run by the X Prize Foundation at no cost to NASA.

Sweet.

And in case you were wondering:

Last year, NASA sponsored a Centennial Challenge that required contestants to build a tough but lightweight tether that could be used on a future space elevator. The competition produced no winner.