Google Lunar X Prize


Google Lunar X Prize
Google Lunar X PRIZE
Google Lunar X Prize logo
Awarded for "land a robot on the surface of the Moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth" [1]
Presented by X Prize Foundation (organizer),
Google Inc. (sponsor)
Country Worldwide
Reward US$20 million for the winner,
US$5 million for second place,
US$4 million in technical bonuses,
US$1 million diversity award
Official website googlelunarxprize.org

The Google Lunar X PRIZE, abbreviated GLXP, sometimes referred to as Moon 2.0,[2][3] is a space competition organized by the X Prize Foundation, and sponsored by Google. It was announced at the Wired Nextfest on 13 September 2007.[4] The challenge calls for privately-funded spaceflight teams to compete in successfully launching, landing, and then traveling across the surface of the Moon with a robot, while also sending back to Earth specified images and other data.

Contents

Competition summary

The Google Lunar X PRIZE offers a total of US$30 million in prizes to the first privately funded teams to land a robot on the Moon that successfully travels more than 500 metres (1,640 ft) and transmits back high definition images and video. The first team to do so will claim the US$20 million Grand Prize; while the second team to accomplish the same tasks will earn a US$5 million Second Place Prize. Teams can also earn additional money by completing additional tasks beyond the baseline requirements required to win the Grand or Second Place Prize, such as traveling ten times the baseline requirements (greater than 5,000 metres (3 mi)), capturing images of the remains of Apollo program hardware or other man-made objects on the Moon, verifying from the lunar surface the recent detection of water ice on the Moon, or surviving a lunar night. Additionally, a US$1 million Diversity Award may be given to teams that make significant strides in promoting ethnic diversity in STEM fields. Finally, Space Florida, one of the "Preferred Partners" for the competition has offered an additional US$2 million bonus to teams who launch their mission from the state of Florida.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE expires when all constituent purses have been claimed or at the end of the year 2015 (whichever comes first). To provide an added incentive for teams to complete their missions quickly and thereby create the first vehicles to operate on the surface of the Moon since 1976, the value of the Grand Prize will decrease from US$20 million to US$15 million whenever a government-led mission lands on and explores the lunar surface.[1] This timeframe is in possible competition with China's plans to land its Chang'e 3 lunar lander/rover on the lunar surface in 2013.

The closing date for the competition was originally announced to be Dec 31, 2012 for the 'Grand Prize' of $20M and 2014 for the reduced prize of $15M [5] [6]. In 2010 the closing date was extended to Dec 31, 2015.

Overview

Peter Diamandis, the project founder, wrote on the official web page:

"It has been many decades since we explored the Moon from the lunar surface, and it could be another 6 - 8 years before any government returns. Even then, it will be at a large expense, and probably with little public involvement."[7]

The goal of the Google Lunar X Prize is similar to that of the Ansari X Prize: to inspire a new generation of private investment in hopes of developing more cost-effective technologies and materials to overcome many limitations of space exploration that are currently taken for granted.

Origin of the prize

Similar to the way in which the Ansari X Prize was formed, the Google Lunar X Prize was created out of a former venture of Peter Diamandis to achieve a similar goal. Dr. Diamandis served as CEO of BlastOff! Corporation, a commercial initiative to land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon as a mix of entertainment, internet, and space. Although it was ultimately unsuccessful, the BlastOff! initiative paved the way for the Google Lunar X Prize.[8]

Initially, NASA was the planned sponsor and the prize purse was just US$20 million. As NASA is a federal agency of the United States government, and thus funded by US tax money, the prize would only have been available to teams from the United States. The original intention was to propose the idea to other national space agencies, including the European Space Agency and the Japanese space agency, in the hope that they would offer similar prize purses.[9]

However, budget setbacks stopped NASA from sponsoring the prize. Peter Diamandis then presented the idea to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, at an X Prize Foundation fundraiser. They agreed to sponsor it, and also to increase the prize purse to US$30 million, allowing for a second place prize, as well as bonus prizes.[9]

Objections to the Heritage Bonus Prizes

Some observers have raised objections to the inclusion of the two "Heritage Bonus Prizes," particularly the Apollo Heritage Bonus Prize, which will award an additional US$4 million to the first group that successfully delivers images and videos of the landing site of one of the Apollo Program landing sites, such as Tranquility Base, after landing on the lunar surface.[10] It is universally noted such sites are archaeologically and culturally significant, and some have expressed concern that a team attempting to win this heritage bonus might inadvertently damage or destroy such a site, either during the landing phase of the mission, or by piloting a rover around the site.[11] As a result, a very small number of archaeologists are on record calling for the Foundation to cancel the heritage bonus and to ban groups from targeting landing zones within 100 kilometers of previous sites.[12]

In turn, the Foundation has noted that, as part of the competition's educational goals, it hopes these bonuses will foster debate about how to respectfully visit previous lunar landing sites, but that it does not see itself as the appropriate adjudicator of such an internationally relevant and interdisciplinary issue. This response left that small community of detractors unsatisfied.[13] The Foundation points to the historical precedent set by the Apollo 12 mission, which landed nearby the previous Surveyor 3 robotic probe; new scientific results from that heritage visit were still being published in leading papers nearly four decades later.[14]

In January 2011, NASA's Manager for Lunar Commercial Space noted on Twitter that work was underway to provide insight and guidelines on how lunar heritage sites could be protected while still allowing visitations that will yield critical science.[15]

Many of the Apollo astronauts themselves have already expressed support for the bonus, with Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin appearing at the Google Lunar X PRIZE's initial announcement and reading a plaque signed by the majority of his fellow surviving Apollo Astronauts.[16]

Competitors

Registration in the Google Lunar X PRIZE closed as of December 31, 2010. The complete roster of teams was announced on 17 February, 2011. There are 29 officially registered Google Lunar X PRIZE teams involved in the competition (not including teams that have left the competition or merged into other teams):[17]

Team Number Team Name Craft Name Craft Type Craft Status Ref
01 Odyssey Moon MoonOne (M-1) lander development [18]
02 Astrobotic Technology To be named[19] lander development [20]
To be named[19] rover development [21]
03 Team Italia rover development [22]
04 Next Giant Leap development [23]
05 Team FREDNET [24] To be named Lander development [25]
To be named Rover development [26]
06 ARCA HAAS lunar orbiter development [27]

[28]

ELE spherical rover development [27]

[28]

07 Moon Express development [29][30]
08 STELLAR To be named Rover development [31]
09 JURBAN development [32]
10 Independence-X development [33]
11 Omega Envoy To be named lander development [34]
Sagan rover development [34]
12 SYNERGY MOON development [35]
13 Euroluna ROMIT development [36]
14 Team SELENE RoverX Wheg robot development [37]
15 White Label Space To be named lander development [38]
To be named rover development [38]
16 Part-Time-Scientists Asimov Jr. rover development [39]
17 C-Base Open Moon c-rove rover withdrawn [40] [41]
18 Selenokhod development [42]
19 Barcelona Moon Team development [41]
20 Mystical Moon, a 'mystery team' development [43]
21 Rocket City Space Pioneers development [44]
22 Team Space IL development [45]
23 Puli Space Technologies Puli development [46]
24 Team SpaceMETA development [47]
25 Team Plan B development [48][49]
26 Penn State Lunar Lion Team development [50]
27 Angelicum Chile development [51]
28 Team Indus development [52]
29 Team Phoenicia development [53]
SCSG withdrawn [54]
Micro-Space Crusader LL[55] lander withdrawn[56] [57]
Quantum3 withdrawn [58]
Lunatrex withdrawn [59]
Advaeros withdrawn [60]
(Unannounced / Mystery Team) withdrawn [61]

Shortly after the announcement of the complete roster of teams, an X PRIZE Foundation official noted that a total of thirty one teams entered a partial registration program by filing a "Letter of Intent" to compete; of these, twenty did indeed register or join other registered teams, while eleven ultimately did not register.[62]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "About the Google Lunar X PRIZE". http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/about-the-prize. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Moon 2.0 Is The Next Mission For X Prize Group, And Google" (PDF). Investor's Business Daily. http://www.wirednextfest.com/inform/press07/CNN_Money%209.13.07.pdf. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  3. ^ Koman, Richard (2007-09-14). "Moon 2.0: Google Funds $30 Million Lunar X Prize". Newsfactor. http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=03300316K1J9. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  4. ^ Reiss, Spencer (2007-09-13). Google Offers $20 Million X Prize to Put Robot on Moon. 15. Wired. http://www.wired.com/science/space/magazine/15-10/ff_moon. Retrieved 2007-09-16 
  5. ^ Koman, Richard (2007-09-14). "Moon 2.0: Google Funds $30 Million Lunar X Prize". Newsfactor. http://www.newsfactor.com/story.xhtml?story_id=03300316K1J9. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  6. ^ archive.org: Google Lunar X PRIZE Competition Guidelines, version dated Sep 16, 2007
  7. ^ "A Word From the Founders of X Prize & Google". http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/. Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  8. ^ "Origin of the prize". X Prize Foundation. http://youtube.com/watch?v=G-zGwqO5BwY. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  9. ^ a b "Is it true that originally the Google Lunar X PRIZE was going to be the NASA Lunar X PRIZE (or the ESA or similar)?". X Prize Foundation. http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2011/02/is-it-true-that-originally-google-lunar.html. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  10. ^ Thomas, Jill and Justin St. P. Walsh, "Space Archaeology," The Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2009.
  11. ^ Billings, Lee (2008-10-28). "Billings, Lee, "Should the Sites of Lunar Landings Be Protected as PArt of our Cultural Inheritance?"". SEED. http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/preserving_tranquility/. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  12. ^ "uncomPRESSed: Google Lunar X PRIZE - William Pomerantz" Andreas -horn- Hornig, HDTVTotal.com, August 01, 2010, 12:51:07 CET
  13. ^ Matson, John (2009-06-09). "Matson, John, "Can space-faring companies be entrusted with the Apollo program's history?," Scientific American, "60-Second Science," Comments, 9 June 2009". Scientificamerican.com. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=can-space-faring-companies-be-entru-2009-06-09. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  14. ^ ""Apollo Relic Reveals its Secrets"". NASA. 2008-06-20. http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/20jun_apollorelic/. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  15. ^ ""Twitter / @Rob Kelso - Great meeting yesterday at ..."". NASA. 2011-01-20. http://twitter.com/#!/rmkelso/status/28216037832925184. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  16. ^ ""Buzz Aldrin at the Google Lunar X PRIZE Launch"". X PRIZE Foundation. 2009-07-22. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35qjYeddq9k. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 
  17. ^ "Meet the Teams | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  18. ^ "Odyssey Moon - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/odyssey-moon/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  19. ^ a b "SpaceX Lands Contract To Fly To Moon". Aviation Week. 2011-02-08. http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/asd/2011/02/08/01.xml&headline=SpaceX%20Lands%20Contract%20To%20Fly%20To%20Moon. Retrieved 2011-02-08. "The landing site, originally targeted for the Sea of Tranquility near where Apollo 11 touched down, is up for grabs, as is the name of the spacecraft, once called Artemis, and the name and destinations of the 1.5-meter tall, 1-meter wide rover." 
  20. ^ "Astrobotic - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/astrobotic/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  21. ^ Astrobotic reveals moon mission plans msnbc.msn.com
  22. ^ "Team Italia - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/team-italia/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  23. ^ "Next Giant Leap - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/next-giant-leap/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  24. ^ "FredNet - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/frednet/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  25. ^ Team FREDNET Lander Development teamfrednet.org
  26. ^ Team FREDNET Rover Development teamfrednet.org
  27. ^ a b "ARCA - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/arca/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  28. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  29. ^ "Moon Express - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/moon-express/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  30. ^ "MoonEx aims to scour moon for rare materials". Los Angeles Times. 2011-04-08. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-moon-venture-20110408,0,1715396.story. Retrieved 2011-04-10. "The company is among several teams hoping to someday win the Google Lunar X Prize competition, a $30-million race to the moon in which a privately-funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon's surface and have it explore at least 1/3 of a mile. It also must transmit high definition video and images back to Earth before 2016. ... should be ready to land on the lunar surface by 2013" 
  31. ^ "STELLAR - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/stellar/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  32. ^ "JURBAN - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/jurban/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  33. ^ "Independence-X Aerospace - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/independence-x/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  34. ^ a b "Omega Envoy - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/omega-envoy/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  35. ^ "SYNERGY MOON - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/synergy-moon/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  36. ^ "Euroluna - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/euroluna/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  37. ^ "SELENE - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/selene/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  38. ^ a b Barton, Andrew (2009-12-01). "Mission Concept". White Label Space. http://www.whitelabelspace.com/2009/12/mission-concept.html. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  39. ^ "Part-Time-Scientists - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/part-time-scientists/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  40. ^ http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/07/19/team-drops-out-of-google-lunar-x-prize/
  41. ^ a b "C-Base Open Moon - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/c-base-open-moon/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  42. ^ "Selenokhod - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/selenokhod/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  43. ^ "Mystical Moon - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2011-02-17. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/mystical-moon/about. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  44. ^ "Rocket City Space Pioneers - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/rocket-city-space-pioneers/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  45. ^ "Team Space IL - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/team-space-il/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  46. ^ "Team Puli - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/team-puli/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  47. ^ "SPACEMETA - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/spacemeta/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  48. ^ "Plan B - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/plan-b/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  49. ^ Lindell, Rebecca (2011-03-10). "Rocket enthusiasts shoot for the moon". Vancouver Sun. http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Rocket+enthusiasts+shoot+moon/4414173/story.html. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  50. ^ "Penn State Lunar Lion Team - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/penn-state-lunar-lion-team/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  51. ^ "Angelicum - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/angelicum/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  52. ^ "About Team Indus | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/indus/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  53. ^ "Team Phoenicia - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/team-phoenicia/about. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  54. ^ "Southern California Selene Group (SCSG) - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/scsg/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  55. ^ Lunar challenge lures maverick, Denver Post, 2006-10-16, accessed 2010-12-24. Micro-Space plans circa 2006.
  56. ^ Micro-Space, Google Lunar X Prize webpage, 2010-11, accessed 2010-12-24. Noted that "Micro-Space withdrew from competition in November 2010." following the death of the founder, Richard P. Speck.
  57. ^ "Micro-Space - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/micro-space/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  58. ^ "Quantum3 - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/quantum3/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  59. ^ http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/lunatrex/about
  60. ^ "Advaeros - About Us | X PRIZE Foundation". Googlelunarxprize.org. 2007-08-15. http://www.googlelunarxprize.org/lunar/teams/advaeros/about. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  61. ^ "The Launch Pad: Exactly how many teams are involved in the Google Lunar X PRIZE?". Thelaunchpad.xprize.org. 2010-12-02. http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2010/12/exactly-how-many-teams-are-involved-in.html. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 
  62. ^ "The Launch Pad: Well, let's start: How many LOI teams were there?". X PRIZE Foundation. http://thelaunchpad.xprize.org/2011/02/well-let-start-how-many-lois-were-there.html. Retrieved 2011-02-19. 

External links


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