5 Teams Left in $30 Million Private Moon Race
And then there were five.
Five privately funded teams have secured verified launch contracts to blast their robotic spacecraft toward the moon, keeping them eligible for the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP), contest organizers announced today (Jan. 24).
The remaining teams are Florida-based Moon Express, Israel's SpaceIL, India's Team Indus, Hakuto of Japan and the international outfit Synergy Moon. Eleven other teams had been in the running, but they failed to lock up a verified launch deal by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2016. [Google Lunar X Prize: The Private Moon Race Teams (Images)]
"It's a diverse group with different approaches, and the fact that it's five — we couldn't be happier," GLXP senior director Chanda Gonzales-Mowrer told Space.com.
The GLXP offers $20 million to the first private team that lands a spacecraft on the moon, moves it 1,640 feet (500 meters) and has the vehicle beam high-resolution photos and videos back to Earth. A successful mission must lift off by Dec. 31, 2017, for the team to claim this prize.
The second team to accomplish all of this by the deadline will receive $5 million. An additional $5 million is available for various special accomplishments (such as detecting water ice on the moon), bringing the total purse up to $30 million, contest organizers have said....MORE