Google Lunar X-Prize Heading For The Moon
September 13, 2007 — Google and X-Prize Foundation want private companies to explore the Moon and beyond. To make that happen, they've announced the Google Lunar X-PRIZE Competition with a total prize of $30 million and an end date of December 31, 2012.
X-PRIZE Foundation President Peter Diamandis and the Internet search engine Google announced the competition Thursday, September 13, at Wired magazine's NextFest Conference in Los Angeles, California. The new prize calls for teams to create autonomous rovers that could land on the moon, travel at least three-tenths of a mile (500 meters) and send video, images, and data back to earth.
"It has been many decades since we explored the Moon from the lunar surface, and it could be another 6 to 8 years before any government returns," Diamandis said. "Even then, it will be at a large expense, and probably with little public involvement. The Google Lunar X PRIZE seeks to create a global private race to the Moon that excites and involves people around the world and, accelerates space exploration for the benefit of all humanity."
The first successful team would win $20 million if accomplished by December 31, 2012. After that, the prize drops to $15 million. If no team is successful in landing a rover on the moon by 2014, the prize would be withdrawn. If a second team succeeds before the original deadline, another $5 million would be awarded to this runner up. Additionally, another $5 million would be reserved for bonus tasks accomplished-for example, roving for longer distances, taking pictures of old lunar spacecraft, finding water ice, or surviving the long lunar night.
Diamandis added, "With the Ansari X PRIZE, we were able to demonstrate that personal spaceflight is possible. Now, a new industry is emerging making it possible for anyone to fulfill their dream of spaceflight. With the Google Lunar X PRIZE we hope to usher in an era of commercial exploration and development, in which small companies, groups of individuals and universities can build, launch and explore the Moon and beyond."
For more information, visit http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/.