Feeds

Google encourages 10 teams to rocket to the moon

Lunar X Prize joined by Jesus, a penguin and some miners

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google and the X Prize Foundation held a ceremony today for the first ten contestants to enter their $30m race to land a privately funded space craft on the Moon.

Eight new teams have joined the previous two entrants, who all gathered at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California to preview their intentions for the purse.

The firms have until the end of 2012 to land an unmanned machine on the lunar surface and successfully send it roving for at least 500 meters. The winning team will receive a $20m grand prize for their effort. That's potentially a fraction of the cost it will take to land a machine there — although some entrants claim they can make it with a budget less than the grand prize.

Second prize is $5m for a team that successfully lands their craft, but cannot make it travel over 500 meters. An additional $5m will be awarded if the rover can go over 5,000 meters.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin said the company decided to put its funds toward the competition after a regular corporate brain storming session.

Brin's curiosity about the the cost to land a craft on the moon left him shocked about its bargain value (in the eyes of a man who lands his jet in a private NASA runway usually reserved for presidential visits, of course).

"This aspect of discovery is being ignored despite its relatively low cost," said Brin.

Sergey Brin: A man who can afford not to wear a suit

The X Prize Foundation aims to spur technological development in space the same way a cash prize tempted Charles Lindbergh to cross the Atlantic by aircraft in 1927. After that, your bevy of Amelia Earharts are bound to follow.

Yet this is a program nurtured and raised in Silicon Valley, and therefore lacks a reasonable amount of shame. That's why we see "Moon 2.0" slogans plastered around for this competition. That's right, "Moon 2.0." Love it, kiss it, rub it all over your naked body.

No, really

Let's meet the contestants.

Boost IT visibility and business value

Next page: Odyssey Moon

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.