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CNET News Video: Team Part-Time Scientists take their Google Lunar XPrize rover for a spin

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CNET News Video: Team Part-Time Scientists take their Google Lunar XPrize rover for a spin

3:22 /

To win the Google Lunar XPrize, you not only need to land a rover on the moon by the end of 2015, you'll also need to send high-definition footage back to Earth to document the journey. We join Team Part-Time Scientists in Germany for an early systems test.

[MUSIC] Hi I' Andrew Barton, I'm the technical operations director for the Google lunar X prize, I'm here today at DFKI in Bremen Germany, with one of the judges fro the Google lunar X price, were here to look at the contesting activities being done by the team part time scientist. They're a bunch of guys who are technically active in other industries. And they've got together to form a team to go after the Google Lunar XPRIZE in their spare time. The team formed about four years ago when I first heard about the Google XPRIZE. From then on it really just grow, the entire team and, yeah, it's been four years since. I'm Alan Wells. I'm an emeritus professor at the University of Leicester. And I'm one of the Google X Prize judges. Google have introduced these milestone prizes as a stimulus and as a means of measuring genuine progress towards the ultimate object. And that's where we are at the moment. The goal today is to verify the image quality of the camera so come here to the [UNKNOWN] Institute because they have this awesome space hall which is capable of simulating realistic lunar lighting condition. To demonstrate a very high resolution. And high frame rate video. Is something that is not that easy to do. The thing that we want to achieve today. Is to verify that the image quality of the camera that we have built. This latest prototype measures up to the requirements of the MTA, MTA is the [UNKNOWN] agreement basically to rule over the competition. So if it doesn't measure up and we send it to space then we can actually get disqualified. [MUSIC] The reason why you saw us putting up different filters in in front of the camera. It's actually because we have been mixing two different types of cameras. So we're having two black and white cameras which are the, the parallel ones they were the ones for the stereoscopic imaging that we used to do this 3D scanning of the surface and measuring distances to certain focal points. And then we have of course the tele-lens which is in the middle. And the tele-lense. It's actually, different in a way that the other two cameras actually already color sensors, so they capable of seeing color themselves, but the telelens is a black and white sensor. If you use a color sensor, to capture your color's image that's totally fine but the point is the quality is better if you use a black and white and, apply a right camera photo [MUSIC] What we did to be able to get things done quickly and tested quickly is that we have ordered all of the parts on the camera as 3D printed parts, so they are basically plastic. This gave us the advantage that we could quickly test image quality but of course, it as the disadvantage that we can't do all of the other tests that we want to do. For example, the [UNKNOWN] vacuum test is something that you can't do with the plastic parts. Or the mechanical low tech, but of course for the image quality it doesn't matter if the housing is plastic. [MUSIC] The reason why I believe this entire group of experts and part time scientist is pretty awesome, at least for me and most of the people on our team. The big thing you get to learn so much more things that you would have never come in contact with in your normal life. I think this is when [UNKNOWN] will already [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] [MUSIC]

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