The past few weeks have been a flurry of activity for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. After helping our colleagues celebrate the awarding of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE, we hit the road to attend the 61st International Astronautical Congress in Prague, and then to host the 4th annual Google Lunar X PRIZE Team Summit on the Isle of Man. With all of the recent activity, and with the competition just having celebrated its third “birthday,” now seems like a good time for an update.
First, a summary of the competition. The Google Lunar X PRIZE offers a total of $30 million in prize money to the first privately funded teams to land robots on the Moon that explore the lunar surface by moving at least 500 meters and by sending back two packages of high definition video and photos we call Mooncasts. Unlike our first competition, the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, the Google Lunar X PRIZE isn’t a ‘winner take all’ proposition: instead, we have a $20 million Grand Prize, a Second Place Prize that will award $5 million to the second team to meet all of the requirements, a series of technical bonus missions that can allow teams to earn as much as an additional $4 million, and a $1 million award that will go to teams that make the greatest contribution to stimulating diversity in space exploration and, more generally, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.