Registration for a $30 million competition to land a spacecraft on the moon is closed, with a total of 29 teams officially in the running, managers of the Google-sponsored Lunar X Prize competition announced this week.
Eight teams were added to the official roster before registration closed, including contenders from Israel, Hungary, Brazil, Canada, Chile and India.
“When we first kicked off this competition I thought there’d be 12 (teams),” Peter Diamandis, founder of the X PRIZE competitions, said in a video posted on the foundation’s website. “This is a real competition.”
The top prize of $20 million will go to the first team that lands a rover on the moon before Dec. 31, 2015. The spacecraft has to travel at least 500 meters on the surface of the moon and transmit high-resolution pictures and video back to Earth. The prize drops to $15 million if a government agency gets there first.
There are bonuses available if a rover travels more than three miles, finds water or touches down near an Apollo landing site or other location where spacecraft or satellites have landed or crashed to the lunar surface. Spacecraft launching from Florida are eligible for an additional $2 million in state money.
The second team to land is eligible for $5 million.
“The race is on,” Diamandis said. “We’re excited to see what (the teams) are going to be able to do in the next two or three years.”
Here’s a look at the contenders.
Image: Israel's Team Space IL is among the latest competitors entering the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE. Credit: Team Space IL
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