Google Competition Aims to Land First Private Spacecraft on Moon

The search giant Google is also known as one of the quirkiest and most innovative companies on the globe. From self-driving cars to trying to beat death to teaching machines to code better than humans, Google has a reputation of trying to attempt the crazy.

One of the company’s latest project has been started by Google’s Lunar X division and is aiming to land the first ever private spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Now, the competition has entered its final stages and could be launching a spacecraft before the end of the year.

Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition that wants to explore the horizons of robotic space exploration by challenging engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, to come up with innovative and low-cost solutions. The competition is offering a $30 million dollar total prize along with a chance to land on the moon for one of the 16-selected teams.

The competition consists of a number of stages. The team that will win the competition must:

  • Successfully place a spacecraft on the moon’s surface.
  • Travel 500 meters.
  • Transmit high-definition video and images to earth.

In 2016, all the teams were required to book a rocket to launch their particular spacecraft later on. Out of those 16, five have made it to the finals: SpaceIL, Moon Express, Synergy Moon, Team Indus, and Hakuto. All of these are now scrambling to launch a spacecraft to the moon as the deadline for launch is pegged at the 31st of December, 2017.

Google has also announced that a $1 million “Diversity Prize” award is going to be split evenly between all the 16 teams— even the ones that didn’t make it to the final round.

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