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Carmack Qualifies Lunar Landing Challenge

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 17 comments

Space.com is reporting that id Software's John Carmack and his fellow team members from Armadillo Aerospace successfully qualified for NASA's Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge on Saturday, and could take home a hefty $1 million wad of cash. The rocket-powered craft ascended 164 feet into the air and actually flew over to land on a simulated rocky lunar surface 164 feet away. Once that was accomplished, the craft lifted into the air and returned to its point of origin.

The mission, slated as Level 2 in the overall Lunar Lander Challenge, was accomplished using Scorpius, weighing around 1900 pounds fully fueled. Carmack and his team originally achieved Level 1 on October 2008, taking home a smaller $350,000 check after enduring the simulated lunar trip in 90 seconds; Level 2 consists of the actual timespan passed between leaving the moon's surface and reaching lunar orbit (but not the actual distance).

But like Carmack's game engines, the famed developer is pushing his creation further. "Since the Lunar Lander Challenge is quite demanding in terms of performance, with a few tweaks our Scorpius vehicle actually has the capability to travel all the way to space," Carmack told Space. "We'll be moving quickly to do higher-altitude tests, and we can go up to about 6000 feet here at our home base in Texas before we'll have to head to New Mexico where we can really push the envelope. We already have scientific payloads from universities lined up to fly as well, so this will be an exciting next few months for commercial spaceflight."

Armadillo Aerospace was the first team in the competition to complete Level 2, however the prize won't be claimed until October 31. If the other two teams do not achieve level 2 before then, Carmack and the game will win. If another team succeeds, the competition will move on to the next level: E1M3.

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  • 16 Hide
    mcbowler , September 15, 2009 4:33 AM
    Carmack wants to go to Mars and open a portal to hell. I can hardly wait.
  • 11 Hide
    ailgatrat , September 15, 2009 1:33 AM
    Maybe the games gave him the money to pursue his real dream, rocket science?
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    cryogenic , September 15, 2009 12:22 AM
    Does this mean that Carmack wasted all that talent on games when he should have been a rocket scientist? or is it the other way around, making all those game engines gave him an edge at math/physics computations.

  • 11 Hide
    ailgatrat , September 15, 2009 1:33 AM
    Maybe the games gave him the money to pursue his real dream, rocket science?
  • 8 Hide
    anamaniac , September 15, 2009 2:06 AM
    Maybe Carmack really is just an awesome guy.

    Violent video games, rockets, space travel... sounds like there isn't anything in the list of awesomeness this guy can't do.
  • 5 Hide
    MadCraiZ , September 15, 2009 2:57 AM
    He can't design a kick ass PS3 engine.


    ...or won't, but that's just semantics.
  • 2 Hide
    nekatreven , September 15, 2009 3:22 AM
    I'd butcher the quote if I tried, but I read something he wrote once about it...that it occurred to him that spending all of that money to customize his Ferrari(s) could be better spent. I imagine he still has the toys, but he found this to do too. Pretty cool.
  • 0 Hide
    r0x0r , September 15, 2009 4:11 AM
    nekatrevenI'd butcher the quote if I tried, but I read something he wrote once about it...that it occurred to him that spending all of that money to customize his Ferrari(s) could be better spent. I imagine he still has the toys, but he found this to do too. Pretty cool.


    He spent the Ferrari money on a Tesla Roadster instead.

    http://www.armadilloaerospace.com/n.x/Armadillo/Home/News?news_id=364
  • -5 Hide
    horendus , September 15, 2009 4:24 AM
    Carmack for president!!!

    Vote 1 Carmack
  • 16 Hide
    mcbowler , September 15, 2009 4:33 AM
    Carmack wants to go to Mars and open a portal to hell. I can hardly wait.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 4:50 AM
    Carmack wants to go to Mars and open a portal to hell. I can hardly wait.

    Ohhhh! Carmack, the Evil Genius. Where do I apply for a minion role?
  • 1 Hide
    Andraxxus , September 15, 2009 7:10 AM
    mcbowlerCarmack wants to go to Mars and open a portal to hell. I can hardly wait.

    Wait until you see what comes out of the portal.
  • 2 Hide
    r0x0r , September 15, 2009 11:20 AM
    AndraxxusWait until you see what comes out of the portal.


    It won't be a cake, 'cos the cake is a lie.
  • 2 Hide
    decepticon , September 15, 2009 1:13 PM
    anamaniacMaybe Carmack really is just an awesome guy.Violent video games, rockets, space travel... sounds like there isn't anything in the list of awesomeness this guy can't do.


    Can he win a fight with Chuck Norris? ;) 
  • 1 Hide
    zak_mckraken , September 15, 2009 1:33 PM
    decepticonCan he win a fight with Chuck Norris?


    I doubt it. Chuck Norris has more testicles than Carmack. I think he have something like 23 of them.
  • 1 Hide
    bounty , September 15, 2009 3:30 PM
    next level: E1M3. So what is E1M3 then?
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , September 15, 2009 5:44 PM
    I think this is rigged! E1M3 is the name of a DOOM level.
  • 1 Hide
    matt87_50 , September 15, 2009 11:32 PM
    meh, call me when they actually go to the moon.

    I'm sure he will tho, and its good to see people promoting space travel.
  • 1 Hide
    belardo , September 16, 2009 5:49 AM
    COOL...

    Seems like Carmack id doing what NASA and other Aerospace companies can't do.

    Space technology on the cheap.
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