Category Archives: Contests and Games

Video: Bob Richards and “Moon Express 2017 – A private lunar mission”

In a recent SETI Institute seminar, Bob Richards of Moon Express talked about the company, the Google Lunar XPRIZE, and the business case for commercial activities on the Moon: Moon Express 2017 – A Private Lunar Mission Enabling Science & Commerce – Bob Richards (SETI Talks)

From the caption:

The health of our home planet and the survival of our species will only be secured through the use of space resources and the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere to the Moon and beyond. Creating an off-Earth economy and multi-planet civilization will safeguard the long term prospects of humanity.

Bob Richards is Co-Founder and CEO of Moon Express, Inc. (MoonEx), a privately funded lunar transportation and space resource development company, striving to become the first commercial company to land on the Moon, a challenge only accomplished by 3 superpowers in history. Located at Cape Canaveral, Moon Express has contracted for 3 launches to the Moon with Rocket Lab between 2017 and 2020, is partnered with NASA under its Lunar CATALYST program, and is one of only two teams in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition with a verified launch contract.

In this talk Bob Richards outlines Moon Express and it plans to develop lunar resources, and how this goal has set in motion technological, political, legal and regulatory precedents that will allow humanity to rationally and peacefully embrace and develop the Moon as the world’s eighth continent.

Videos: CineSpace 2015 winners

The CineSpace project is a short film competition sponsored by NASA and Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS). The framework for the contest is that the films must inspired by and use actual NASA imagery. The first competition took place in 2015 and you can find the winning films and all the entries at CINESPACE 2015 Winners – Houston Cinema Arts Festival.

Below are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Here is an article about the competition: Space Never Looked So Good In These NASA Collab Short Films – MTV

Details for entering the 2016 competition can be found on the CineSpace website.


1st Place
Higher Ground
Mary Magsamen and Stephen Hillerbrand
Houston, TX

2nd Place
Mission Avante
Fernando Dueñas Peña
Bogota Colombia

3rd Place
Le Voyage
Alexandre B. Lampron
Laval, Quebec

‘Planetbase’ – A Mars settlement building game

With the game Planetbase you guide

a group of space settlers trying to establish an outpost on a remote planet. Grow food, collect energy, mine resources, manufacture bots, and build a fully self-sufficient colony.

This review is quite positive: Steam’s Latest Hit Is A Tough-As-Nails Mars Base Building Game – io9

The enduring message of Planetbase—at least, after a couple hours—seems to be, “Don’t get cocky.” It’s been immensely satisfying building up my base so far, but I know it can be so much more. Apparently I can go from a handful of people to hundreds, to a base that very literally spans the planet. And yet, rocks fall from the sky as though hurled vengeful space deities saying, “Don’t. You. Dare.” But I will dare, even though Planetbase’s Steam page warns me of sandstorms, intruders, and solar flares, and beta players mention “hundreds of ways to die.”

I’m about to build a landing pad, which will usher in my base’s next era. Fearing certain death, I might have over-prepared for my next handful of colonists, but who knows? The planet is a big place. I haven’t even had to sound an emergency alarm yet. I’m excited to see what awaits.


Xtronaut: the game of solar system exploration

Dante Lauretta  is a professor at the University of Arizona and the Principal Investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission to return a sample of an asteroid back to earth. (Hear his recent interview SpaceGeeks Ep. 13: Dante’s Paradiso – .) He has developed a space themed board game called Xtronaut: Xtronaut: The game of solar system exploration – DC Newsroom

Rocket Science for Everyone!

Capturing the real-world thrill and challenges of planetary exploration, Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration gives 2 – 4 players ages 7 and up the chance to develop space missions and explore the solar system. The game is based on real planetary missions and rocket science. It also contains elements of politics and strategy that are inspired by the real-life situations that space missions face.

The crowd-funding campaign for it has exceeded its $15k goal by $6k with two weeks remaining: Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration by Dante Lauretta – Xtronaut Enterprises — Kickstarter.

And this video tells more about the game play:


‘Mars Ice House’ wins the NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge contest

NASA sponsored the NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge in which entrant teams develop 3D printing systems and techniques for building habitats on Mars. Thirty finalists were chosen in August. See descriptions of each team’s concept at Design Competition Finalists.

At the Maker Faire underway this weekend in New York the teams displayed their designs and the winners were selected. Updates from the event were posted at 3DP Challenge (@3DPChallenge) – Twitter.

The grand prize winner was the Mars Ice House team – America Makes on Twitter:

JUST ANNCD: Team ICE HOUSE @s_e_arch winners of the $25k Grand Prize @3DPChallenge @NASAPrize @make #WMF2015

Check out their informative website.

Mars-Ice-House_Dusk+01_lr[1]A Mars team approaches their Ice House habitat. Credits Ice House Team.

mars_section+02_Rev1[1]Cross-section of the ice structure built with an additive printing system
around the lander module. Credits Ice House Team.

Wardroom[1]“Where the ice shell thins, large ETFE inflatable windows filled with
radiation shielding gas further expand the perceived volume and frame
views into the landscape.  Together, these features enable both collective
and private opportunities to contemplate the vista of the
extraordinary Martian terrain.”  Credits Ice House Team.

I’ve always like the idea of ice structures on the Moon and Mars since ice is both translucent, which adds light and color to one’s living environment, and an excellent radiation shielding material. With substantial water resources now believed to be available at the lunar poles, similar structures as the Ice House could be built on the Moon as well.