Google backs private Moon landing

Search giant Google is offering a $30m prize pot to private firms that land a robot rover on the Moon. The competition to send a robot craft to the Moon is being run with the X-Prize Foundation. To claim the cash, any craft reaching the lunar surface must perform a series of tasks such as shoot video and roam for specific distances. Firms interested in trying for the prize have until the end of 2012 to mount their Moonshot.

In a statement announcing the competition, Google and the X-Prize Foundation said it had been created in a bid to stimulate research into low-cost robotic exploration of space. The top prize of $20m will be given to the private firm that soft lands a rover on the Moon which then completes a series of objectives. These include roaming the lunar surface for at least 500m and gathering a specific set of images, video and data. A prize of $5m will be given to the second firm that manages to reach the Moon with a rover that roams the surface and shoots some pictures.

Google said it would give bonuses of $5m if the rovers complete other objectives such as travelling further on the Moon, taking pictures of Apollo hardware, finding water-ice and surviving the freezing lunar night. Rovers taking part must be fitted with high-definition video and still cameras.

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News source: BBC News

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16 Comments

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Ok, I'll be the first to start the conspiracy theory stuff again :)

What happens if they get a drone on the moon near an apollo landing site and there is nothing there?

Personally I think they have a good chance of find it but if it really isn't there, gawd only knows what will happen to Nasa.


Did spaceship one not cost more than the prize money offered at the time? It's something that if it all works, could turn out to be a profitable business for a company. Potentially.

ScottishLad said,
Ok, I'll be the first to start the conspiracy theory stuff again :)

What happens if they get a drone on the moon near an apollo landing site and there is nothing there?

Personally I think they have a good chance of find it but if it really isn't there, gawd only knows what will happen to Nasa.


Did spaceship one not cost more than the prize money offered at the time? It's something that if it all works, could turn out to be a profitable business for a company. Potentially.


NASA would probably say it landed in the wrong place

What would be cool is if the drone actually laid down a Google.com flag/banner horizontally that could be seen from Earth ;-) NOW that WOULD be COOL :nuts:

Cyplex said,
What would be cool is if the drone actually laid down a Google.com flag/banner horizontally that could be seen from Earth ;-) NOW that WOULD be COOL :nuts:

You dont think The US or Russia had that idea all those times they landed on the moon? There's a certain, shall I say, 'incentive' stopping humans from messing with the moon.

Angel Blue01 said,
$30 million is not enough for a moon landing.

its not intended to fund it, these contest winnings rarely are. its an incentive and a perk on top of the funding and deals you make along the way to pay for your project.

I'm thinking wouldn't it be better for these competitoons instead of wining the money after doing it, those who want to enter need to make some workign models create and show detailed plans and all that crap, then an expert panels decide wich of the entries are best and most likely to succeed, and then the prize money is put towards realizing this project.

hat way the peopel who have the brains to do the really good project can enter even if they don't have the money, instead of all the rich peopel with half a brain and some idiot half baked idea that MAY work entering.