The X PRIZE Foundation and Google announced the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a robotic race to the Moon to win a $30 million prize. Private companies from around the world will compete to land a privately funded robotic rover on the Moon that is capable of completing several mission objectives, including roaming the lunar surface for at least 500 meters and sending video, images, and data back to Earth.
The Google Lunar X PRIZE is an international competition that will challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. The X PRIZE Foundation, which awarded the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private suborbital spaceflight, is an educational nonprofit prize organization.
To win the Grand Prize, a team must successfully soft-land a spacecraft on the Moon, rove on the lunar surface for a minimum of 500 meters, and transmit a specific set of video, images, and data back to the Earth. To win the Second Prize, a team must land their spacecraft on the Moon, rove, and transmit data back to Earth. Bonus prizes will be won by successfully completing additional mission tasks such as roving longer distances, imaging man-made artifacts, discovering water ice, and/or surviving through a frigid lunar night. The public will be able to view images and data sent back by the rover on the Google Lunar X PRIZE Web site.