Print 27 comment(s) - last by maven81.. on Feb 23 at 6:53 PM

Ten teams now vying for part of the $30 million purse offered up by Google

Google announced this week that it now has ten teams registered to compete for its $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. Google’s Lunar X PRIZE competition is a serious undertaking with requirements to win the cash prize stipulating that the teams build and launch a craft that can travel to the moon and land on its surface.

Once the craft reaches the lunar surface, the lander portion of the craft must be able to travel 500 meters over the surface of the moon and send back at least one gigabyte of images and video. All crafts in the competition are required to have still and HD video cameras to compete. The first team to complete these tasks will win a prize of $20 million.

The other $10 million of the prize money is broken up into two $5 million prizes that can be won. One of the $5 million purses is up for grabs for the second place team to complete the main objectives of the competition. The remaining $5 million is for the rover able to complete other missions on the moon’s surface including finding water or ice, traveling the longest distance, and having the greatest endurance.

Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE foundation announced the entry of ten teams at Google headquarters on February 21. Diamandis said in a statement, “I’m very pleased to welcome our first 10 fully registered teams to the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Only 6 months after the announcement of this competition, the response has been incredible – we’ve received over 560 expressions of interest from more than 53 nations.”

"We are excited that ten teams from around the world have taken up the challenge of the Google Lunar X PRIZE," said Megan Smith, Google's Vice President for New Business Development. "We look forward to the exciting achievements and scientific advancements that will result from the efforts of these teams as they participate in the next great space race."

 The ten teams currently registered to compete for the Lunax X Prize include the Aeronautics and Cosmonautics Romanian Association (ARCA), Astrobotic, Chandah, FREDNET, LunaTrex, Micro-Space, Odyssey Moon, Quantum 3, Southern California Selene Group, and Team Italia.

An additional $2 million price is being offered in the competition to the team that wins the competition provided that the winning team launches from Florida and wins the competition while complying with all the competition rules.

DailyTech first reported on the Google $30 million Lunar X PRIZE in 2007.

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RE: Amazing
By maven81 on 2/22/2008 3:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
Aren't you forgetting something? Aside from JPL Nasa doesn't really manufacture things inhouse. It subcontracts projects to civilian aerospace companies. And these companies don't always do such a great job... Remember the hubble space telescope? I believe a good chunk went to lockheed martin. Massive cost overruns... I forget who built the mirror, but it's another company that really screwed up. Remember all the other subcontractors? Boeing, Northrop Grumman, a ton of tiny companies responsible for this thing or that... It's not "the government" that makes all that stuff, it IS private industry! I think what you're really trying to say is that it's possible for smaller, younger, more visionary companies to do a better job then these old dinosaurs. And there I totally agree with you.

RE: Amazing
By Ringold on 2/23/2008 1:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't forget that at all, but we're on the same page. Government-sponsored programs, like you point out, have almost blank-checks. Especially when its a cost-plus contract, the incentive to keep costs under control doesn't exist, they'll get their margin regardless. Even if its not, they probably know they can bilk the government for whatever it costs; the government will figure its already invested so much and, darn it, they want their new toy. All the same good old boys gather around every time NASA wants something done, and all the same good old boys get the lions share of the contracts. LockMart & Boeing arent risking their own money, they're risking our money, so why rush, why innovate, why control costs? I don't really even consider the defense complex to be anything like a competitive market; more like a set of necessary appendages for the government to keep alive lest we ever need them all.

Not to say they don't do good work, I'd love to work for NASA if they have need of economists, heh, it's just expensive.

These guys like Scaled Composites and Bigelow have incentive to keep costs low, reliability high, etc; it's their money on the line. If they try something, and it fails, that's their own money thats smoldering in a heap of wreckage on the launch pad. Because there are more then just a couple, they have the need and free will to innovate circles around NASA; they have to differentiate their products. You're right on the youthful part too; they dont have a nasty entrenched culture to battle against.

We've really never had free enterprise in space, except for satellites, where companies put things in space with an eye to profit. Bigelow and Scaled Composites make life exciting; Orion sure isn't..

RE: Amazing
By maven81 on 2/23/2008 6:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
Yes indeed Ringold, I look forward to seeing what the little guys come up with. It's just a damn shame that this business requires enormous amounts of money as a start up cost. Or I'm sure a lot more people would be getting involved.

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