Nearly 40 years after Americans first set foot on the moon, a host of private rocketeers are hoping to follow to win a $30 million prize. Team Italia, one of 17 teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, is driven by the vision of Alberto Rovetta, a professor of robot mechanics at Politecnico di Milano. Rovetta's designs for lunar robots resemble skittering spiders or crabs that could deploy as a swarm of mobile cameras and sensors on both legs and wheels.
"Most of [the] aerospace community in Italy is behind this project," said Piero Messina, president of the International Association for the Aerospace Culture that is coordinating Team Italia. "At the moment we are competing against ourselves."
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