©Google Lunar X Prize
Google Lunar X Prize
Today the Google Lunar X Prize announced that the deadline for the competition deadline had been extended again, this time to the end of 2016. Also announced today were two milestone prizes being won by Astrobotic.
Astrobotic (U.S.) won $500,000 in the Mobility category and $250,000 for their Imaging Subsystem.
Other teams competing for milestone Prizes are Hakuto (Japan), Team Indus (India), Moon Express (U.S.) and Part-Time Scientists (Germany).
"Over the past year, the judging panel has been consistently impressed with the progress seen from the five teams selected to contend for the Milestone Prizes," said David Swanson, chairman, Google Lunar XPRIZE judging panel. "It goes without saying that space exploration comes with a myriad of challenges, yet the enthusiasm and teamwork exhibited by these competitors has been second to none, exceeded only by their adept technical expertise. As part of this process, we are pleased to recognize Astrobotic for their achievements in the Mobility and Imaging categories and look forward to awarding additional Milestone Prizes in the coming weeks."
There are still $5,250,000 million in milestone prizes available.
In a new twist to the competition, at least one team must provide proof that they have scheduled a launch by December 31, 2015 for all the teams to go forward in the competition.
"We continue to see significant progress from our Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, most recently demonstrated in the pursuit of the Milestone Prizes, in which teams exhibited substantial technological achievements that will ultimately support their missions," said Robert K. Weiss, vice chairman and president, XPRIZE. "We know the mission we are asking teams to accomplish is extremely difficult and unprecedented, not only from a technological standpoint, but also in terms of the financial considerations. It is for this reason that we have decided to extend the competition timeline. We firmly believe that a whole new economy around low-cost access to the Moon will be the result of the Google Lunar XPRIZE."
It's unclear if the competition will come to an end if none of the teams can show a scheduled launch by the deadline.