In 2007 it was announced that there was going to be a private race to the moon sponsored by Google. The total number of participants to be part of this adventure called Lunar X-Prize was finally revealed: It will consist of 29 teams from 17 countries.
This competition has one goal: each group will send an automated vehicle to the moon and get a video which shows the device driving around a distance of at least 500 meters. The team that achieves the goal will be awarded 30 million dollars by the Mountain View giant.
For those who do not know about this event, we must mention that is held by Google and the X-Prize Foundation. The idea is to show that the future of the space race is in the private sector and that they can create automated cars much cheaper than those produced by NASA.
But the participants don’t only need to create a vehicle that can navigate the surface of the moon, they also have to ally themselves with corporations and private space agencies to send the device into space.
Thus, for example, the boys of Astrobotic Technology (a group formed by students at Carnegie Mellon University) got the approval of the company SpaceX to send their robot to the moon. An important fact of this private aerospace company is that the owner is Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal.
It’s clearly a big project by Google and Lunar X-Prize. The expectations of the organizers are very strong and are very optimistic that the winners will be announce by 2015.