The Google Lunar XPRIZE, the largest international incentive based prize of all time, aims to do something we haven’t done as humanity since 1973, safely land on the surface of the Moon. More than half of the world’s population has never had the opportunity to view a live transmission from the lunar surface.
The Google Lunar XPRIZE aims to create a new era of lunar exploration that will be more sustainable and more accessible to all than humanity’s first moon race. We believe that the Google Lunar XPRIZE and the stories of the global community of innovators and entrepreneurs competing for the it, will motivate the high tech workforce of tomorrow and show people of all ages how they can personally contribute to a worthy and exciting endeavor like space exploration.
The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE will be awarded to the first privately funded teams to build robots that successfully land on the lunar surface, explore the Moon by moving at least 500 meters (~1/3 of a mile), and return high definition video and imagery. Completing these mission requirements before the end of 2015 will win the competition’s grand prize worth $20 million. Additionally, a second place prize of $5 million will be available for the second team to complete the competition objectives. $4 million in bonus prizes are available for achieving other specific mission objectives, including operation at night; traveling more than 5km over the lunar surface; detection of water; and precision landing near an Apollo site or other lunar sites of interest (such as landing/crash sites of man-made space hardware). A $1 million award will go to the team that demonstrates the greatest attempts to promote diversity in the field of space exploration. In 2013 XPRIZE and Google announced a series of Milestone Prizes that will allow competing teams to access portions of the total prize purse as substantial technical achievements are achieved. The Milestone Prizes were added to recognize the technological achievements and the associated financial hurdles faced by the teams as they prepare their lunar spacecraft. $10 million in these milestone prizes will be awarded to teams that can develop space hardware, launch their vehicle, or reach a certain distance from the lunar surface. The money awarded as milestone prizes will be deducted from the grand prize or second place prize. To ensure that teams develop technologies and capabilities that will allow for financially sustainable lunar exploration, the Google Lunar XPRIZE requires that teams receive a large majority of the funds necessary to mount their mission from private sources, such as customers, investors, sponsors, and donors. However, teams are welcomed—indeed, encouraged—to seek government customers willing to purchase services and data at commercially reasonable rates. The new era of lunar exploration thrives on being international and participatory, and derives much of its strength from the cooperation and collaboration between civil space agencies and private firms; Google Lunar XPRIZE teams that can identify and sign government customers are demonstrating their ability to be vital components of this new era. As of midnight on December 31st, 2010, the team registration for the Google Lunar XPRIZE is closed. No additional applicants will be accepted to join the competition.