Friday, September 14, 2007

Google Lunar X Prize

X PRIZE Founder – Peter H. Diamandis, MD It has been many decades since we explored the Moon from the lunar surface, and it could be another 6 - 8 years before any government returns. 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 use of space has dramatically enhanced the quality of life and may ultimately lead to solutions to some of the most pressing environmental problems that we face on earth – energy independence and climate change. The X PRIZE Foundation could think of no better sponsor and partner than Google. We share a common vision for opening frontiers and a belief that a small dedicated group of individuals can accomplish amazing feats at very low cost.
PRIZES: The total purse of the Google Lunar X PRIZE is $30 million (USD). • GRAND PRIZE: A $20 million Grand Prize will be awarded to the team that can soft land a craft on the Moon that roams for at least 500 meters and transmits a Mooncast back to Earth. The Grand Prize is $20M until December 31st 2012; thereafter it will drop to $15M until December 31st 2014 at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation • SECOND PRIZE: A $5 million Second Prize will be offered as well, providing an extra incentive for teams to continue to compete, and increasing the possibility that multiple teams will succeed. Second place will be available until December 31st 2014 at which point the competition will be terminated unless extended by Google and the X PRIZE Foundation • BONUSES: An additional $5 million in bonus prizes can be won by successfully completing additional mission tasks such as roving longer distances (> 5,000 meters), imaging man made artifacts (e.g. Apollo hardware), discovering water ice, and/or surviving through a frigid lunar night (approximately 14.5 Earth days). The competing lunar spacecraft will be equipped with high-definition video and still cameras, and will send images and data to Earth, which the public will be able to view on the Google Lunar X PRIZE website. Personally, I think this is way too ambitious. The previous X Prize only got a "spacecraft" to a 100km and nowhere near orbital speed. A better step would be to go orbital, before thinking about landing a craft on the moon.


pimp-a-lot bear said...

maybe they should´ve introduced going orbital as next step, but I think that's not cool enough. (lame!, satellites do it all the time)

Are country´s excluded from this contest or can they participate as well?

the tricky part of the spacecraft was the passengers / crew. The Lunar X Prize doesn't mention those.

cybrbeast said...

Only private enterprise may partake in the competition.

You are right, without passengers there's much less money need to ensure safety and much less weight for life support etc. So yeah, it could be done.

also, there's actually already a prize for orbital by Bigelow Aerospace for $50M for the first team to go orbital with passengers and be able to dock to the Bigelow space hotel. Though the offer expires jan 2010, so the teams better hurry up.