Space iPad App Generates Buzz For Real Life Mission

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Millions of dollars are at stake in a global race to the moon and one Huntsville team is determined to claim the prize – with help from a new app.

Google’s Lunar X Prize competition challenges privately funded teams to land a robot safely on the moon and complete a series of tasks. The first team to do it will claim at least 20 million – maybe more.

Huntsville’s Lunar X Prize team - called Rocket City Space Pioneers – thought an app was the perfect way to grab the attention of not just kids (the future space explorers of the world) but also potential sponsors (it costs a lot to get to the moon.)

The Rocket City Space Pioneers iPad app is free to download and can be found by searching for “Rocket City Space Pioneers” in the App Store. The mobile game offers bright, bold graphics and three challenges – launch, landing and driving.

Each of those challenges is meant to simulate the same hurdles the Rocket City Space Pioneers will face as they try to win Google’s contest. Team leader Tim Pickens hopes the app will showcase not only RCSP’s mission but also remind people that Huntsville is a global center for space science – something the entire community should celebrate and take pride in supporting.

“We can’t just be a geek effort of scientists and engineers trying to build cool hardware to go to the moon,” Pickens said.

The iPad game was designed by Analytical Mechanics Associates. The project’s chief said the biggest challenge was creating something that would to appeal to all ages.

“The hardest part really was… how do we take what is really a very complicated bit of physics and turn that into a game that is fun to play,” AMA Solutions Architect Dennis Bulgatz said.