Google Moon robot teams confirmed
The prize money, a whopping $30 million (£18.5 million) would go to the team that would first build the robotic explorer to send back videos, as it travels over 500 meters on the lunar surface.
The competition, which was first announced in 2007, could find a winner by the year 2015.
“The official private race to the Moon is on,” said Peter Diamandis, Chief Executive of the X-Prize Foundation.
The competing teams come from widely divergent backgrounds. Ranging from non-profit associations to university groups, to well-funded businesses, they comprise a total of 29 teams competing for the prestigious Moon explorer prize.
Some of the competitors have been reported to have already bought private spacecraft rides, for transporting the robots.
A deal has been entered into by Astrobotic Technology, which is a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University and SpaceX, the private space organization set up by PayPal founder Elon Musk, for using the Falcon-9 rocket.
Aside of private involvement, government agencies have also started showing interest by sending spacecrafts to the moon.
Although, a spacecraft from a joint Russian and Indian team, and another one from China is set to take off for moon in the year 2013, Tiffany Montague of Google Space Initiative said, “The most successful and revolutionary discoveries often come from small, entrepreneurial teams.”
However, there are speculations whether uncensored videos would be allowed being transmitted, from the lunar surface.
In a public opinion blog, the author stated that although the winning team would be allowed to send their robotic explorer, there may a possibility that NASA may not allow them to transport their video equipment.