Moon Race: The Story of One Crazy Design Contest

in #story3 months ago (edited)

"Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that's what gets you."
- Jeremy Clarkson -

NOTE: I first published this article on Whaleshares.

More than thirty years ago,

the late, great Omni Magazine ran a contest that I found both fascinating and challenging.

The contest prize was irresistable:

a real, honest to God trip into outer space. Well, at least into Earth orbit. From the Omni article:

"The grand prize for the most ingenious and feasible vehicle will be one ticket on Project Space Voyage, a low Earth orbit tour of our planet, scheduled for launch in 1992. The tour includes a four-day briefing at a resort, an 8- to 12-hour trip, and then two days' debriefing at a resort. Space gear will be provided."

That prize would fulfill one of my lifelong dreams.

The image below is the cropped cover from that Omni Magazine, blaring "Win A Trip To Outer Space (Honest!)"

Note: In order to tell my story, I've included excerpts from Omni under the legal doctrine of fair use, with full attribution to their source.


Omni announces the contest. ~ Source: Omni Magazine

In October, 1986, Omni Magazine ran an amazing design contest.

The challenge was to produce a conceptual design for a racer that could enter and potentially win a race following a circular course designed to visit each of the six Apollo lunar landing sites.


Inspiration for the MagRod Leaper. ~ Image source: Omni Magazine

Contest instructions were detailed and clear.

From Omni Magazine, October 1986:

"To enter the contest, print your name and address on a plain piece of paper and include as proof of purchase the word STARTECH, cut out from atop page 167. In 200 words or less (printed or typed only) describe your vehicle. No drawings, please. No models. You must include in your description the following characteristics of the moon buggy: size; weight; number of occupants it could carry; means of propulsion; top speed, performance capabilities (can it cross crevasses? how large? how steep a slope can it climb?); material of which it is made. You can assume there will be mining and manufacturing facilities on the moon. We know our satellite is rich in aluminum, iron, titanium, silicon, and oxygen. Any or all of these could be used to construct a vehicle."

Wow, this contest was certainly my cup of tea!

I had closely followed all the Apollo missions, desperately wishing that I had been able to go myself.

Crater Mid View

Some lunar highland terrain. ~ Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

I recall being particularly thrilled while listening to Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean laughing and joking with one another as they carried out a mission EVA. I thought, "These are my kind of guys. They are clearly having the time of their life."

I knew I was more inventive than the average contestant was likely to be. I might have a real shot at going into orbit!

Carefully following the contest instructions,

I composed a written description that ticked off all the boxes cited in the contest rules. To this day, I believe what I described in less than 200 words would have been a lunar race-winning vehicle.

I hope you'll return for the next installment of my story, where you'll find a verbal description of my outlandish racer design.

~To Be Continued~

I hope you'll return for the upcoming installments of my story. In them, you'll find a verbal description of my outlandish racer design as well as more cool 3D-modeled images.

Here's a peek at what's coming:

MagRod Launch Sequence.png

MagRod Launch Sequence (strobe view) ~ Original Visualization by @creatr)
CLICK IT  for a full-size view.


The MagRod easily negotiates rough lunar terrain. ~ Image courtesy of NASA.
(CLICK the image for an amazingly panoramic closeup--be sure to zoom in!)

Articles In This Series

You may want to read this short story (LINKED HERE); it's a teaser leading up to this article. It provides a "sneak peak" at the Lunar Leaper described in this series of articles.

Important Note: My articles often contain hot links to supplemental information. While they aren't essential, you may find added value by following them. Most images also link to useful or related information or articles.


For much more of @creatr, click on the library image below:


Damn this is too old and back then the craze about space was next level

Every child was space nerd even now I'm one of them. I'm always watching sc-fi

Though recently watched "return from space" documentary and it was truly inspiring

Well curious for your next part, Glad i found you through dreemport.

Greetings, @idksamad78699,

Thanks for stopping in and reading. I'm glad you found me through dreemport too! I am also a big Sci-Fi fan, watching shows/movies and even more, reading the novels ever since early childhood...

Thank you also for mentioning that space documentary; I've looked it up on the web, watched the trailer and teasers, and am looking forward to watching the whole thing! Much appreciated!



I'm also Glad, Nice To meet you mate we're similar in Sc-Fi matter

Welcome bro, I'm always up to suggest space related movie/series/show.

You should also watch

  1. interstellar (Christopher Nolan masterpiece)
  2. The Silent Sea ( A Netflix series)

I'm sure you will love this too in case haven't watched it already.

Have A Good day & Weekend Ahead.

hehehehe well well well.... if it isn't my old friend (well, young friend - but long-lasting friendship) Mr. Duncan Palmer. LOLOLOLOL


and how does he choose to surprise me by being here???

by dropping his post into DreemPort for me to find! LOLOLOL

ok - i'm getting ready to walk out the door - so i'll have to come back to see if you answered again
but from what I see - you have images that are under fair use - are public domain - and are all able to be used in a commercial post right?

because - though we have no problem (well, relatively no problem hahah) with what people do on Hive or other platforms with their own blogs... hehehee if a post is submitted to DreemPort - we ask that people ONLY use cc0 license images, or - their own images - or public domain.

so - just being sure!!! from what I saw - i think that qualifies - saw the University say you have permission - looks like the magazine one - free use applies, and the other... i think i saw that too...

if not! 2 options hehehe

  1. can you edit to remove any image that doesn't apply...
    or 2. give me a heads up that it should be taken out from DreemPort today (and please submit something else tomorrow??? hehehe)

and love you!

all is going so well here - how is MRS. Duncan Palmer??? hehehehe give her my love please!


I got your attention! Yaayyy! I'm always missing you, even if all too often "in the background." Have been uber-busy with all too much "stuff," but am (slightly) coming up for air and so indulging myself with doing a little writing. And a little "catching up" around here. And trying to squeeze in writing up some of the 'yuge' backlog of articles that continually rattle around in my brain. Not to mention a strong urge to do more poeting...

So, when I went to try and "catch up" with my dear old friend Dreemie, I discovered Dreemport for the first time, and (after a casual inspection) signed up... And yes, I read the rules, and, yes, believe it or not, they actually completely comport with what I've always done everywhere and everywhen... AFAIK... at least that has always been my intention. And so all images are legit/credited/fair use, if not my own original work. And if you or anyone should discover otherwise, yes, I will make appropriate adjustment(s).

And MRS. DCP and I are doing reasonably well, while simultaneously struggling with the vagaries of life, the universe, and everything, including aging and some health and "economic slump" issues, but we know whom we have believed, and consequently our assurance of last resort is the good grace and kindness of Jesus our LORD and God. 😇❤️👍🙏

And the Mrs. sends her love right back atcha, as do I in buckets... With hugs...
We would love to see you face to face, God willing, sooner rather than later if possible.

So glad to know all is well. Desperately now wanting to spend days and late evening sessions over good food and drink sitting and gabbing and singing with you and your hubby and offspring...





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You're welcome.😁

This was an interesting post... a serialised short story set in the past about the future hehe.. Love the little links to additional info too ... Really curious as to what happened with the contest now...😂 ... I guess we will wait to see the next installment in Dreemport soon? I've read some of your other articles too this evening... I think the community here would enjoy your diverse range and repertoire of interests through your posts. !ALIVE !PIZZA

@creatr! You Are Alive so I just staked 0.1 $ALIVE to your account on behalf of @samsmith1971. (2/10)

The tip has been paid for by the We Are Alive Tribe through the earnings on, feel free to swing by our daily chat any time you want.

Thanks so much for your encouraging comments! :)

Like most of the young boys when I was growing up, I was a total Space Nerd!
Later in life, I spent more time, reading and learning about the early Mercury, Gemini and later Apollo Astronauts. From what I remember, Apollo 12's crews was one of the closest, and the crew with the most personality!

Now, I count NASA as a client! and many members as friends!

Greetings, @bluefinstudios

I lived through and followed all the early manned space missions... Yep, Space Nerd is a good description for me as well! I started reading SciFi in, I think, the first grade? :)

What career has landed you NASA as a client? Sounds very cool!



Ask miss Dreemsteem! I am a Production Manager, for Special Events. One of my events, is a robotics competition, nationwide: FIRST ROBOTICS.
NASA is a Sponsor, and I spent some time at many of the NASA sites.
We also provide AV, Lights, Sound for conferences and meetings for clients (NASA GLENN in Ohio was one)

Very cool indeed! Sounds like a lot of fun; thanks for the update. :)


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