2011-02-19

Mythbusters and the lunar X-Prize

While reading about the Google sponsored Lunar X-Prize I got an idea: It would be great fun if the Mythbusters dedicated a whole season (or three) to having a go at sending a rover to the moon?

As many education professionals have pointed out, Mythbusters is probably the most important TV show right now.  Although much of the show is a lot of fun and games and things being blown to bits, at the core, the show is firmly anchored in the application of scientific method and problem solving.   While there have been several TV series that attempt to teach its viewers something about science, this show goes a bit further in that it focuses on actually performing experiments rather than talk about them.

There is also a sort of renaissance these days of people making and building stuff.  Lots of people build exciting things in their basement -- from autonomous vehicles to 3D printers to clever electronics gadgets.

The efforts towards private space exploration over the past couple of decades are sort of exciting, but not very engaging.  While the results that have been achieved are vaguely interesting to those of us not directly involved in the industry, these efforts do not really engage us as much as they could.  If Branson and Rutan manage to perform a sub-orbital flights for rich people, well, that is of course nice for them, but it isn't exactly engaging and inspiring. The really exciting stuff of making it happen takes place behind cosed doors.

I think that if Discovery Channel and M5 Industries were to head up an effort to send a rover to the moon, that would make for absolutely fantastic TV.   Of course, I don't expect the producers of Mythbusters to have the sort of cash needed to make it happen, so they would probably need to secure funding for the project from companies and well-off individuals.

Given their high profile, the Mythbusters team might also be able to enlist the help of volunteers with special skills from various engineering disciplines and conduct a large part of the effort as a sort of open source project.

Of course, I don't expect Discovery Channel to pick up the challenge.  But it would make for really great TV.

1 comment:

  1. just read my comments in this WIRED Science GLXP article ...

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/lunar-x-prize-teams/

    ReplyDelete