Meet the university students trying to send a spacecraft to the moon — for $10 million!

Credit: NASA

One hundred and twenty students at Penn State University have their sights set on the surface of the moon — and some may land a spacecraft there before they earn a degree. The Penn State University Lunar Lions hope to make history as the first university team to successfully launch a lunar mission.

The team is composed of faculty advisors, graduate students and around 100 undergraduates from all disciplines: theater, marketing, communications, business and every type of engineer (civil engineer, mechanical engineer, aerospace and electrical).

The Lunar Lions are among 18 teams still left in the running for Google’s Lunar XPRIZE — a $20 million award given to one team who successfully lands a craft on the moon, takes images and moves the craft one-third of a mile on the moon’s surface. And they’re flying solo. The XPRIZE Foundation offers no funding or support. The students are building their own spacecraft (rockets, landing gear and all) and communications system. The Lunar Lions also must secure their own launch site and raise $60 million to foot the bill — all while creating a series of YouTube videos to document their process… Read more at Salon.

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