Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Optech, Robert Richards, and the Lunar X PRIZE

Earlier Space.com mentioned that Odyssey Moon founder Robert Richards is Director of Optech Incorporated's Space division, and the caption in an image on the right mentioned that Pptech is a member of the Odyssey Moon team. There may have been more news about it that I missed or don't remember, but a press release at GIS Cafe clarifies what Optech's role in the effort is:

Optech Incorporated is a privately owned Canadian high technology company that leads worldwide markets in advanced laser-based imaging and survey systems. Optech’s lidar (laser radar) technology was the first of its kind in orbit and is currently on the way toward Mars aboard the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander. Lidar based technologies for safe landing and rover navigation are expected to play an essential role in robotic and human lunar missions.

Optech’s technology was featured at the roll out of Odyssey Moon in a demonstration of a lunar rover prototype, the K-10, developed in collaboration with the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group. Optech’s ILRIS-3D sensor is used by the rover to provide 3D terrain visualization for navigation and science. The rover system was successfully demonstrated this past summer during field trials at Haughton Crater in the Canadian Arctic.

In other news, Robert Richards, representing Optech and Odyssey Moon, will be the Keynote Speaker at the Accelerating Space conference.

Meanwhile, Atomic Razor is skeptical of the Cringely Lunar X PRIZE team.