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March 2nd, 2008
SCOTLAND HAS drawn nearer to the final frontier after Glasgow University revealed its ambition to join a race to the moon for a $30 million prize.
Scientists and students working at the space mission analysis design department have put out a call for collaborators to team up with them and snatch the Google Lunar X Prize, which will reward the first private company to land a robot on the moon.
The first 10 teams were announced last week and have until 2012 to complete the mission. Glasgow University threw down the gauntlet on Friday, claiming it has the technological know-how such an audacious project requires.
The man who would lead any effort, Dr Gianmarco Radice, an expert in space engineering, said: "We are looking for partners to join us - we can definitely get to the moon. It is very expensive though, so it's more a prestige thing than an economic investment. It would be quite a PR stunt, to say the least."
The university is already involved in a project organised by the European Space Agency, which will send a craft into orbit around the moon. It is also using its "world-leading strength" in nanotechnology and electronic design to lay the groundwork for a new generation of miniaturised vehicles and satellites that will revolutionise space travel, said Professor Frank Coton, dean of the faculty of engineering.
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