TubeRat Aerospace, Ocean Ridge Airport, Gualala, California
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The LunaCaching Prize

The LunaCaching Prize is named for an Earth-bound hobby called GeoCaching. In GeoCaching, people are given the GPS coordinates of a "cache" of hidden materials, usually trinkets. The challenge is to find the cache. Some are more difficult than others.

The LunaCaching Prize will give registered teams the coordinates of the TubeRat 1 probe on the surface of the moon. They must build a probe or other device to retrieve one of the official tokens that are stored on TubeRat 1. Then they must return an electronic code to Earth indicating they have read the token. The tokens use cryptography to ensure that this cannot be done without actually going to the Moon and getting them.

The first team to accomplish the mission, as determined by the judges, will be awarded US$100 million. Winners are responsible for any taxes and fees on the prize.

Goals of the Competition

The purpose of the LunaCaching Prize is to promote the development of low-cost space vehicles capable of reaching the Moon. These preliminary guidelines have been written with this intent and will be further drafted, interpreted and defined by the LunaCaching Prize Rules Committee towards this end. Once the rules are finalized, all judging will be conducted by an independent judging organization. All decisions of the LunaCaching Prize judges will be final and binding upon all participants.

Rules of the Competition

  • As a condition of entering and becoming a participant in the LunaCaching Prize competition, entrants will be required to first agree to be bound and abide by the rules, decisions and interpretations which will be further promulgated by the LunaCaching Prize Rules Committee and its designated representatives. Entrants will also be required to agree to fully cooperate with the LunaCaching Prize judges in monitoring LunaCaching Prize entrants and competition requirements.
  • Flight vehicles will have to be privately financed, built and launched. Entrants will be precluded from using a launch vehicle substantially developed under a government contract or grant. Entrants will be prohibited from receiving any direct funding, subsidies, and grants of money, goods, or services from any government (or otherwise tax-supported entity). Entrants will be permitted to utilize government facilities if access to such facilities is generally available to all entrants. Any such goods or services used in connection with the competition must be available to other entrants on similar terms. Entrants will be permitted to utilize subsystems previously developed by a government agency that are currently available on a commercial or equal-access government-surplus basis, or for which manufacturing rights and specifications are available on an equal-access basis
  • The flight is not required to carry any people.
  • Entrants must fly a probe or similar device to the Moon, landing close enough to the TubeRat 1 landing site to obtain an official token contained on board. Entrants will be provided with specifications to read and write to the token devices, which is a process of verifying cryptographic keys. These signals must be received on Earth under the observation of approved judges.
  • The LunaCaching Prize competition is international in nature and is open to all qualifying entrants who agree to be bound and abide by the rules which shall be further promulgated by the LunaCaching Prize Rules Committee and administered by the LunaCaching Prize judges.
  • The LunaCaching Prize judges have the right to investigate any technical reason for doubt that an entrant may have fulfilled its obligations under these rules.
  • The general guidelines set forth herein, although intended to provide a preliminary summary of the anticipated rules of the LunaCaching Prize Competition, are expressly subject to change. Furthermore, in order for a person to qualify as an entrant, among other criteria yet to be set, any such entrant must first sign any releases, rules, and agreements that the LunaCaching Prize Rules Committee may require.
  • The prize offer expires December 31, 2013.

Judges of the Competition

The official independent judging organization for the LunaCaching Prize is the Stratofox Aerospace Tracking Team of Silicon Valley, California.

Sponsors/Operators of the Competition

The LunaCaching Prize is operated and funded by the Lirpa Sloof Foundation of Las Vegas, Nevada. TubeRat Aerospace of Gualala, California built and operated the TubeRat 1 spacecraft and also provides other services under contract.

Copyright © 2005 TubeRat Aerospace. All Rights Reserved.