Google has created a lunar landing competition for private teams and/or companies to compete in. The competition, known as the “Google Lunar XPRIZE“, is offering successful participants over $30 million and is being called the “largest international incentive based prize of all time”.
In order to win the prize, a team or company must fist safely land their craft on the surface of the Moon. Then, the craft must travel above, below, or across the moon’s surface for at least 500 meters.
Finally, it must send back at least two “Mooncasts” (a video transmitted live from the lunar surface) for viewers on Earth. All of these tasks must be completed by December 31, 2015.
Google obviously has a financial stake in the $30 million competition, whether it be for publicity, marketing, branding or whatever else, but these are not Google’s only motivations. According to Google Lunar XPRIZE’s official website, the competition also hopes to,
“…create a new “Apollo” moment for this generation and to spur continuous lunar exploration,”
referring to the Apollo 11 mission, which put man on the moon for the first time. The website also points out that,
“More than half of the world’s population has never had the opportunity to view a live transmission from the lunar surface.”
Google Lunar XPRIZE is offering a grand prize of $20 million for the first place winner, but teams will also be competing for bonus prizes throughout the competition by completing specific terrestrial or in-space milestones.
Offering these milestone prizes and extra bonuses helps to encourage teams to continue to compete and innovate for the entirety of the competition, since it gives them the opportunity to obtain a return on their investments even if they don’t ultimately win the grand prize.
Also, the competition will be great publicity for any up-and-coming aerospace and robotics engineers or companies taking part.
Check out the video below to learn a little bit more about Google Lunar XPRIZE…
The teams competing have come from all over the world, and range from groups of college kids to sophisticated engineering and technology companies.
Teams had to register in 2010 and meet specific requirements to be eligible. The count started with 33 qualified teams, but is now down to just 18.
Hopefully one or even several of these teams will soon be opening new doors to the moon.