The Lunar X prize is a contest sponsored by NASA with the end goal of driving the creation of technology required to deliver people and payloads to the surface of the moon. Several teams compete each year to win prize money.
The Lunar Lander Challenge was first announced in 2006. John Carmack from id Software -- the game publisher behind the popular Doom title -- competed in several of the competitions since the contest’s inception.
Carmack and his Armadillo Aerospace team won stage one of the Lunar Lander Challenge and took home $350,000 in prize money. The overall purse up for grabs is $2 million and the event is hosted by the X Prize Foundation.
The contest was held at the Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico last weekend and on Saturday Carmack and his team's Pixel craft competed stage one. To complete the stage, Pixel had to take off and climb to 150 feet where it hovered for 90 seconds and then touchdown on a landing pad 150 feet away. The same feat had to be accomplished again in reverse to win the stage.
Level two of the competition was attempted by Carmack and his team, but they failed. Level two increased the hover time to 180 seconds and requires participants to land on a simulated moon environment. Carmack and his team attempted to win level one last year but failed due to a landing gear malfunction.