August 20, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
What more can I say about today’s project than that it’s putting you in the driver’s seat of a rover they’re hoping to send to the moon? I suppose I could also tell you how I think it’s awesome that a group of extraordinary commoners (ie: not a tax-funded, government agency) are developing programs for off-world activity, and how I think this is a unique and really cool way to get involved in a movement of independence when it comes to science, engineering, production and space exploration…but did I mention they’re letting you test drive their lunar rover?
The Part Time Scientists are, well, rocket scientists. Coming from all over the world, the group of engineers and scientists are setting their sights on the moon and asking you and I to join the mission. For the moment, their work is still Earth-bound, and without NASA’s budget, they’re asking the crowd to become active participants not only in funding, but actually in helping to test and develop their lunar-ready systems. For $15, you get to pilot their prototype rover, and in so doing, help them collect data about responsiveness, efficiency and precision in a mock-lunar environment.
We realized early on that we couldn’t test all of our systems—from our mission control self-developed server, operators’ UIs, and communication protocols down to our own lunar rover operating system. This is why we have set out to recruit the best, most challenging, and supportive test pilots: You!
Yes, yes, yes, it’s all very important and grand that a future in which you and I can extend our reach beyond the Earth is now coming into focus and becoming a distinct possibility – even a probability. But what’s really important here is that until that day comes, there’s a huge amount of work to do, and we can help do it. Take the wheel and back this ambitious mission on Kickstarter before August 23.