Google Lunar X Prize
Google Lunar X Prize also referred to as Moon 2.0, was a 2007–2018 inducement prize space competition organized by the X Prize Foundation, and sponsored by Google. To win this competition first, a privately funded team should be able to successfully place a spacecraft on the moon’s surface. Then travel 500 meters and transmit high-definition video and images back to earth.
The grand price for the competition is $20 million, $5 million for second place and $5 million for bonus prize. Additional in-space Milestone Prizes are,
- Lunar Arrival Milestone Prize— the spacecraft must complete one orbit around the Moon or enter a direct descent approach to the lunar surface to win $1.75M.
- Soft Landing Milestone Prize— The spacecraft must transmit data proving it soft-landed on the lunar surface to win $3M
This competition was announced at the Wired Nextfest on 13 September 2007. Registration in the Google Lunar X Prize closed as of 31 December 2010. The complete roster of teams was announced in February 2011. In 2015, XPRIZE announced that the competition deadline would be extended to December 2017 if at least one team could secure a verified launch contract by 31 December 2015. Two teams secured such a launch contract, and the deadline was extended. In August 2017, the deadline was extended again, to 31 March 2018.
In 2018, five teams remained officially in the competition, they are, SpaceIL, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Team Indus, and Team Hakuto, having secured verified launch contracts with Spaceflight Industries, Rocket Lab, Inter-orbital Systems, and a joint ISRO launch for the latter two teams.
On 23 January 2018, the X Prize Foundation announced that “no team would be able to make a launch attempt to reach the Moon by the [31 March 2018] deadline and the US$30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE will go unclaimed.”
In November 2013 organization announced other prizes that will be awarded to teams for demonstrating key technologies prior to the actual mission. A total of US$6 million could be awarded throughout 2014 for achieving the following milestones,
- $1 million (for up to 3 teams) for the Lander System Milestone Prize to demonstrate hardware and software that enables a soft-landing on the moon.
- $500,000 (for up to 4 teams) for the Mobility Subsystem Milestone Prize to demonstrate a mobility system that allows the craft to move 500 meters after landing.
- $250,000 (for up to 4 teams) for the Imaging Subsystem Milestone Prize for producing “Mooncasts” consisting of high-quality images and video on the lunar surface.