Posts tagged ‘Lunar Lion’

Lunar Lion Withdraws From Google Competition


Penn State’s Lunar Lion team’s quest to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition is over. The group, which graced the cover of our Nov./Dec. ’13 issue, had aspirations of winning the competition by landing a spacecraft on the moon by the end of this year. The hard work that began in 2011 is not for naught, as the group still plans on reaching the moon within the next decade.

The news was announced in a press release, today. No matter how long it takes, we’re excited to see the team make it to the moon one day.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

August 31, 2015 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — April 17, 2014

Space jam: It was a party yesterday afternoon at the HUB for the announcement of the Homecoming 2014 Honorary Grand Marshal. The lucky leader: Michael Paul, director of the Lunar Lion team. We told you all about Lunar Lion’s mission to the moon back in the fall (it was the cover story in our Nov./Dec. 2013 issue), and since then, the team has made huge strides, with 120 students now working on the project.

More than words: Here’s a feel-good story about a Penn State fencer who’s helping promote LGBT equality in college sports. Working with non-profit group Athlete Ally, Heather Nelson wants fellow athletes to understand the power of their words: “It can be hard to be an athlete who isn’t out to their team and be forced to listen to teammates make derogatory comments,” says Nelson. “It can drive you to feel less like you belong and less like a welcome member of the team.” Check out Athlete Ally’s Q&A with Nelson here.

Groovy movie: Well, this is… interesting. Ripped! is a psychedelic, sci-fi, musical film about a British rock group in space. Film profs Rob Bingaman and Maura Shea co-created the film, which premiered last night at the State Theatre. Penn State students and alums make up the entire cast and crew. Trust me — the trailer is worth your 2 minutes and 33 seconds.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

April 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Feb. 25, 2014

Daydreaming, FTK: In case there was any doubt, staying awake—and standing up— for 46 hours is no small feat. A story from today’s York Dispatch proves just how mentally taxing THON can be on even the most dedicated dancers. Penn State York sophomore Mark Czaus explains how he was dreaming on the dance floor—despite being awake and on his feet. “I guess I was going in and out of consciousness,” he says. Yikes. Two days later, it sounds like Mark got a chance to rest up and recover, thanks to some understanding profs.

Also, if you tuned in to ABC World News last night and were disappointed to see that THON wasn’t featured, be sure to check out the show tonight: Onward State reports that the THON segment will air tonight during the 6:30 EST broadcast.

Chart of the matter: I’m a sucker for cool infographics—especially ones that share encouraging stats. Penn State Hershey tweeted out this link earlier today: It’s a neat interactive chart that shows how alcohol use among young people is declining, hitting a record low in 2013. Here’s hoping that bodes well for this weekend’s State Patty’s Day. 

Full moon: Back in January, we told you about the Lunar Lion team’s efforts to raise money through crowdfunding site Just over a month later, Lunar Lion has raised a whopping $133,768 with help from notable donors, like Weebly co-founder David Rusenko ’07 and NFL linebacker Michael Mauti ’13.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

February 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 21, 2014

Small steps: Since appearing on our Nov./Dec. 2013 cover, the Lunar Lion mission has gained some major attention — but the team still needs help. Through a page on crowdfunding site, the Lunar Lion team is hoping to drum up financial support for their mission to moon, as part of the Google LunarXPRIZE competition. According to the page, even a $10 donation will earn you a mention on the Lunar Lion’s “Digital Mission Roster” and, you know, a place in history.

Meaningful gift: An engineering alum from Newtown, Conn. is honoring the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook shooting with a scholarship. Phil Clark ’87, who owns Claris Construction in Newtown, has established a $62,500 endowment to support graduates of Newtown Public High School who enroll at Penn State’s College of Engineering. Said Clark: “I always intended to do something like this — the tragedy just accelerated it.” Clark, an architect, is currently working with the architectural firm that’s designing the new Sandy Hook Elementary.

Fun fact: The staffers over at Onward State have a knack for uncovering fascinating tidbits from Penn State history, and thier latest story is no exception. Have you heard of John Montgomery Ward? OS‘s Jessica Tully tells the story of Penn State’s only Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, who was also the only Nittany Lion baseball player to ever pitch a perfect game. Ward was also a bit of a firebrand, Tully writes, “leading a revolt against the unfair treatment from baseball’s board of directors. His forward thinking prompted others to change the way the sport was regarded, as both a pastime and a business.” Read more here.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

January 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm 1 comment

The Penn Stater — Jan. 13, 2014

New semester, new coach, new era: Students are back in class today for the start of the Spring 2014 semester, but they’re not the only ones settling in to a new workload. And you can bet James Franklin was up earlier than most of them. Per @PennStateFball, the Nittany Lions’ 16th head football coach followed up a very busy weekend by getting to his new office by 5 a.m. today.

Bd2hMvFCQAEgRN-If you’re just now catching up on news of Franklin’s hiring, you can read our weekend recap of his introductory press conference here. For broader perspective, a few links worth checking out:

* Franklin’s busy weekend included Saturday’s press conference and photo ops and continued Sunday with appearances at the women’s volleyball banquet, the wrestling meet, and the Lady Lion basketball game. GoPSUSports has video.

* Local fan and media reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and while a handful of national columnists reacted with skepticism and scorn, most outside the Penn State community have nothing but praise for the hire. ESPN’s Ivan Maisel has some good perspective on this one, while the network’s Big Ten reporter, Adam Rittenberg, weighs the risks and rewards of Franklin’s hire.

* Franklin’s reputation as an ace recruiter is understandably getting a lot of attention. The should be very good news for Penn State, and as a couple of writers familiar with his previous jobs point out, temporarily very bad for Vanderbilt, and indefinitely awful for Maryland.

A really B1G show: Some great Penn State stories are featured on tonight’s episode of “BTN Live BIG,” airing at 11 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network. The university’s nationally respected ability athletics program is highlighted, as is the work of David Hughes, the biologist whose fascinating research into “zombie ants” we’ve featured in the magazine. If you can’t stay up for it, set your DVR.

What’s in a (domain) name? If you’ve got $4,583 burning a hole in your pocket, you can bid on the rights to That’s the reported starting bid for the URL, which the university recently allowed to expire. The university’s home page, of course, is

Closer to take-off: We’ve told you all about Penn State’s Lunar Lion team. The latest update from the (hopefully) moon-bound team? They recently tested their rocket engines, and happily, “everything went as planned.”

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 27, 2013

To the moon! We hope you read about Lunar Lion, the team of Penn State faculty, students, and alumni working to land a spacecraft on the moon by 2015, in our Nov./Dec. issue. The program announced a milestone this week: It has paid its launch reservation fee to Team Phoenicia LLC, which Bobby Chen of Onward State, who does a nice job translating science for lay readers, calls “basically a carpooling service for rockets.” This saves money for Lunar Lion, and the team’s leader, Michael Paul, explained: “Now we only have to target a fraction of that cost for launch and can apply our energy and funding to other areas of the mission.”

Boon for law students: Penn State Dickinson School of Law announced this week a new program called the Commonwealth Scholars Program, which will provide renewable annual grants of $20,000 to law students whose primary residence is Pennsylvania. Onward State called the announcement “incredible news” and noted the law school’s recent accomplishments and recognitions, while the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted that a decline in law-school applications likely factored into the program. The grant is renewable for all three years of law school—a potential savings of $60,000—and Commonwealth Scholars are still eligible for other grants and financial aid.


Matt McGloin clearly hasn’t forgotten his roots (@Onward State via

“American underdog vs. America’s team:” The underdog in this headline is none other than Matt McGloin ’12, who will be starting at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys—i.e., America’s Team. His amazing journey from walk-on at Penn State to undrafted rookie to starting NFL quarterback continues. I had to laugh at this line in the piece: “You have to wonder if the moment will be too big for him.” Yeah, I don’t think so. I guess the national media is still learning what we’ve found out over the past couple of years: Never, ever count out Matt McGloin. Maybe this game will raise McGloin’s profile a little more so that broadcasters such as Mike Francesca can get his name right.

And, of course, turkey tips: There’s “one thing you don’t want to share on Thanksgiving,” the College of Agricultural Science reminds us: “pathogenic bacteria.” Martin Bucknavage, a food-safety specialist for Penn State extension, weighs in with tips on how to clean, prepare, and cook your Thanksgiving turkey:

Enjoy your holidays! We’ll be back Monday, Dec. 2.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

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